Office of the United States Attorney, Ann Birmingham Scheel
District of Arizona
June 28, 2012
MEXICAN CITIZEN SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON ON MARIJUANA CHARGE
TUCSON, Ariz. – On June 25, 2012, Guillermo Leon-Rivera, 55, living in Tucson but a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins to nine years in federal prison. Leon-Rivera pleaded guilty on June 14, 2011, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana. The nine year prison sentence represents an upward departure from the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range, reflecting the role that Leon-Rivera initially played in the case.
In May of 2010, a federal grand jury indicted Leon-Rivera and his four co-defendants on related charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, hostage taking, and possession of a firearm during a crime of violence. The four co-defendants, Israel De La Rocha-Rivera, 53; Angel Ochoa-Cazares, 29; Oscar Contreras, 29; and Pedro Cano Jr., 32; have all pleaded guilty to one count of hostage taking. De La Rocha was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on April 25, 2011. The remaining co-defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks.
According to court documents, in April of 2010, the defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute 600 lbs. of marijuana. In addition, they held an individual hostage, threatened to kill him, and demanded that his family pay a ransom of $180,000. Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Tucson conducted an investigation to determine where the man was being held. Once they located the house, agents with the HSI Special Response Team entered the house. Agents successfully rescued the hostage, who they found inside the house with his hands and legs bound by duct tape. Agents also found a loaded AK-47 style rifle and a revolver inside the house. The four kidnappers were arrested without resistance. Leon-Rivera was arrested later that same day at his own residence.
The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations in Tucson. The prosecution is being handled by Micah Schmit and Jesse Figueroa, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.
CASE NUMBER: CR-10-1014-TUC-RCC
RELEASE NUMBER: 2012-164(Leon-Rivera)
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/