News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2009
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Number: (206) 553-5443

Silverton Man Sentenced in Meth and Cockfighting Case

AUG 05 -- (Portland) - DEA Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Arnold R. Moorin and the Acting United States Attorney Kent S. Robinson announced that on August 3, 2009, Miguel Ochoa Sanchez was sentenced to 151 months in prison for distribution of methamphetamine. Sanchez was also sentenced to time served since his March 15, 2008 arrest for his participation in cockfighting, a felony under the Animal Welfare Act.

In March 2008, 28 search warrants were executed throughout Oregon and eastern Washington, stemming from a joint two-year investigation into drug trafficking and cockfighting by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (USDA-OIG).

The USDA-OIG initiated an investigation in December 2005 into illegal rooster or gamecock derbies, commonly known as “cockfighting” which was occurring throughout Oregon and Washington. The DEA, Salem Resident Office joined the investigation in 2006 after learning that some of the cockfighting organizers, fighters, and spectators were involved in trafficking illegal drugs.

In early 2006, Sanchez was identified as one of the cockfighting participants involved in trafficking methamphetamine. During the investigation, Sanchez was observed participating in at least five cockfighting derbies, and distributing methamphetamine throughout Oregon and eastern Washington. At one point Sanchez sold approximately one-quarter pound of methamphetamine that had been hidden in a chicken coup at his family’s home, and on another occasion he sold approximately one pound of methamphetamine to law enforcement in Washington. Sanchez was arrested on March 15, 2008 and law enforcement seized from his family home in Silverton, Oregon, cocaine, marijuana, and 16 firearms.

Several cases against other defendants arrested as a result of this investigation remain pending before the United States District Court.

A task fore of other federal, state, county and city police agencies including the Keizer Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Salem Police Department, and the Yakima County Sheriff’s Office, in addition to many others, assisted with the investigation.