GRANITE CITY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO COCAINE CONSPIRACY
A Granite City man who was indicted along with twenty-two other individuals and charged with being members of a large cocaine distribution organization, has pled guilty, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Oscar Valle Ortiz, 32, of Granite City, Illinois, entered a plea of guilty on June 15, 2011, to one count of Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine and one count of Possession with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine. Ortiz also admitted the forfeiture allegation contained in the indictment and agreed to forfeit $508,000 to the United States.
Ortiz is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:00 am on September 23, in United States District Court in East St. Louis. He faces a possible penalty of imprisonment from 10 years to life, a fine of not more than $10 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years on the Conspiracy count; and a possible penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of not more than $1 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 3 years on the Possession with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine count. Each count also carries a mandatory special assessment of $100.
Other individuals who were charged in the same indictment are currently awaiting trial, and, are presumed to be innocent of all charges and are entitled to a fair trial at which the Government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Evidence in support of the indictment was obtained in an investigation which was conducted under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF initiative is designed to bring federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and resources together to identify, target and dismantle large national and international drug trafficking organizations. Participating agencies include the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), U.S. Marshal Service, the Granite City Police Department, Fairmont City Police Department, Collinsville Police Department, Fairview Heights Police Department, Caseyville Police Department, Pontoon Beach Police Department, Park Hills (Missouri) Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department, and the Illinois State Police. This case is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Randy G. Massey.