Methamphetamine Distributors Sentenced To Federal Prison
Tampa, FL - U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces today that U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore sentenced Luis Paniagua (28, Dade City) and Chris Andrew (45, Dade City) for conspiring with each other, and others, to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. Paniagua was sentenced to 120 months in federal prison. Andrew was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison, the difference, in part, due to his prior criminal history. Both pled guilty on August 9, 2011.
According to court documents, Paniagua and Andrew were part of a drug trafficking organization that smuggled large quantities of high-purity methamphetamine (“ice”) to Florida from California. In April 2011, they arranged for a Lincoln Navigator, carrying three pounds of “ice,” to be transported from San Bernadino County, California to Lakeland, Florida. On April 19, 2011, while Paniagua was attempting to remove the methamphetamine from the vehicle in Lakeland, Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrived and obtained consent to search the vehicle. Agents located and seized the drugs and arrested Paniagua and Andrew.
This case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher F. Murray. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation's illegal drug supply.