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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mexican Citizen sentenced to 15 year in Federal Prison for Methamphetamine Trafficking in Ketchikan

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Fernando Benitez-Moreno, a/k/a Cesar Benitez, Jr., a/k/a David Sanchez, a/k/a “Security”, a/k/a “Uncle Cesar”, a/k/a “Uncle Bob”, a citizen of Mexico who illegally returned to the United States after a prior conviction for drug trafficking, was sentenced in federal court in Ketchikan to 15 years of imprisonment on a sole count of methamphetamine conspiracy.

 United States District Court Judge Timothy M. Burgess imposed the sentence on Benitez-Moreno, 49.

According to the information presented to the court by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack S. Schmidt, Benitez-Moreno was a manager and organizer of a drug conspiracy that trafficked methamphetamine between Washington State and Ketchikan, Alaska.  The conspiracy started on or about January 2007 and continued until November 2009, using drug couriers traveling on commercial aircraft to transport methamphetamine from Washington to Ketchikan, and then transporting drug profits back to Benitez-Moreno in Washington.  Benitez-Moreno made frequent trips to Ketchikan in order to manage the distribution of methamphetamine and to collect drug profits from the conspiracy.  Other members of the conspiracy were previously convicted and sentenced, including Ramon Hueso, Tova Weiss, Deeann M. Hanson, Brett D. Clearwater a/k/a “Chief”, Meghan S. Bird, Jolene J. Lapinski, Eulogio F. Seludo a/k/a “Louie”, Rodulfo L. Lastimoss, Michael T. Stanley, and Timothy Shull.  Benitez-Moreno will be deported from the United States upon the completion of his sentence.

Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Burgess emphasized the seriousness of the offense, the importance of deterring the defendant and others similarly situated, the need to protect the public and to provide a just punishment for the offense, as the reasons that supported imposition of the sentence.

Ms. Loeffler commends the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ketchikan Police Department for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Benitez-Moreno and his co-conspirators.

Updated January 29, 2015