GREENBELT, MD. -- Chief U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow sentenced Paulo Rio-Corrales, age 46, of Pomona, California, today to 11 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute kilogram quantities of heroin and cocaine, as well as 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.
Judge Chasanow also sentenced co-defendants Rafael Arceo, age 23, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and German Zamudio, age 34, also of Pomona, to 78 months and 87 months in prison, respectively, each followed by five years of supervised release, for their roles in the conspiracy.
The sentences were announced by Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration - Washington Field Division and United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.
“Our local communities are not immune from the poison the Mexican drug cartels bring to the streets of the United States,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Ava A. Cooper-Davis. “This case illustrates the far reach of the cartels, but it also highlights the hard work our agents and our partners in law enforcement do every day to stop them. As an agency, we have the ability to work across state lines which allows us to attack these organizations at every level, from command and control operations to the street level dealers.”
According to their guilty pleas, from 2006 through December 11, 2008, Rio-Corrales, Arceo and Zamudio were part of a drug trafficking organization based in Los Angeles, California, that was responsible for importing cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine into the U.S. from sources of supply in Mexico. Rio-Corrales, one of the leaders of the conspiracy, and others then distributed the drugs to customers in the U.S., including a source in Maryland. In May 2008, Rios-Corrales traveled from California to Maryland and met with the source. Rios-Corrales asked the source to begin to take larger shipments of cocaine to assist in paying off a large debt owed to the Mexican source of supply.
On September 17, 2008, Rafael Arceo and Zamudio, who had driven in from California earlier that month, met with the source and discussed the arrest of another co-conspirator and payment for methamphetamine and cocaine. In October 2008, Arceo and Zamudio met with the source on several occasion to discuss the past and future deliveries of cocaine. Arceo advised the source that they were getting ready to deliver 50 kilograms of cocaine and discussed the payment for the cocaine and 4.9 kilograms of methamphetamine that had already been delivered. On November 18, 2008, at the direction of DEA, law enforcement in San Bernadino, California, seized 50 kilograms of cocaine concealed in a tractor trailer that was to be delivered to the source in Maryland at the direction of Rios-Corrales. In early December 2008, Arceo agreed to deliver cocaine to the source in a rental car supplied by the source. On December 7, 2008, Arceo and another conspirator delivered 18 kilograms of cocaine to the source, at the direction of Rios-Corrales. On December 3, 2008, Rios-Corrales, Zamudio and others drove from California to Maryland, where they were arrested. Rios-Corrales admits that he was responsible for the distribution of at least 69 kilograms of cocaine, at least three kilograms of heroin and 4.9 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.