Three Indicted on Federal Drug Charges
1572 Pounds of Marijuana Seized from Drug Traffickers Moving in on Gainesville
GAINESVILLE, GA - MARCO ORTIZ-BARAJAS, 20, FERNANDO MORFIN-CHAVEZ, 43, and ANGEL ZAMUDIO-MARTINEZ, 54, all of Mexico, were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 24, 2012, on drug trafficking charges. ZAMUDIO-MARTINEZ was arrested this morning and was arraigned in Atlanta today at 3 p.m. before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman. ORTIZ-BARAJAS and MORFIN-CHAVEZ will be arraigned in Gainesville, on a date to be determined, before United States Magistrate Susan S. Cole. ORTIZ-BARAJAS and MORFIN-CHAVEZ are currently being held on related state charges in Hall County, Georgia.
United States Attorney Sally Yates said of the case, “Drug trafficking often coexists with other criminal activity and endangers communities. The citizens of north Georgia, unfortunately, are not immune to such crime, but law enforcement is to be commended for its vigilance in protecting our communities.”
“HSI works aggressively with our local partners to target the transnational criminal organizations smuggling drugs throughout our country and threatening public safety,” said Brock D. Nicholson, Special Agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Atlanta. “The significant size of this seizure indicates that Atlanta continues to be a major hub for drug trafficking, and we are committed to disrupting and disabling their ability to move their dangerous substances through our neighborhoods.” Nicholson oversees HSI activities in Georgia and the Carolinas.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: On April 12, 2012, federal and state law enforcement executed a search warrant on a tractor trailer at a warehouse in Gainesville the defendants allegedly had rented to use as an off-loading site for the marijuana. During the search, law enforcement arrested ORTIZ-BARAJAS and MORFIN-CHAVEZ on state charges, and seized approximately 1,572 pounds of marijuana in 106 packages. The approximate street value of the marijuana seized is $3,144,000.
The indictment charges ORTIZ-BARAJAS and MORFIN-CHAVEZ with one count of possession with intent to distribute at least 100 kilograms of marijuana. The indictment also charges ORTIZ-BARAJAS, MORFIN-CHAVEZ, and ZAMUDIO-MARTINEZ with one count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute at least 100 kilograms of marijuana. The charges each carry a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000,000. In determining the actual sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta recommends parents and children learn about the dangers of drugs at the following web site: www.justthinktwice.com.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Assistant United States Attorney Ellen V. Endrizzi is prosecuting the case.For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan