Department of Justice seal U.S. Department of Justice

Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California

United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-033

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March 21, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947


Los Angeles, CA - A Palm Springs man who was under investigation for "cooking" methamphetamine when he led authorities on a high-speed chase through the Inland Empire has been sentenced to 197 months in federal prison for possessing drug-making equipment and several firearms.

Robert Edward Ruiz, 37, was sentenced Monday afternoon by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney in Santa Ana. Ruiz was found guilty at trial last September of possession of equipment which may be used to manufacture methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The jury deadlocked on the counts of distributing and manufacturing methamphetamine.

Local authorities were investigating Ruiz on August 18, 2003 when he received a tip that police might search his residence. According to testimony at trial, Ruiz cleaned his residence and placed some of the equipment he was using to manufacture methamphetamine in the trunk of his car. He also placed in the car three handguns – including a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun with a laser sight – and 243 rounds of ammunition. As Ruiz was leaving his residence, a Palm Springs Police Officer attempted to pull him over, but Ruiz refused to stop. Ruiz led police in a high-speed pursuit, with speeds exceeding 110 miles per hour, from Palm Springs to Riverside. After Ruiz managed to evade California Highway Patrol officers who had taken over the chase, he crashed his car and fled on foot, eventually going to Mexico.

On February 5, 2004, Ruiz was arrested in Mexico and turned over to the custody of the United States Marshals. A federal grand jury indicted Ruiz on April 7, 2004, and he went to trial in Santa Ana in September 2005.

In sentencing Ruiz on Monday, Judge Carney said the sentence reflected Ruiz’s extensive criminal history – he has a record that includes 10 felonies and 13 misdemeanors – and the fact that he escaped from authorities during the chase.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Palm Springs Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.


Release No. 06-033

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