Conspirator in Cocaine Ring Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison On Gun and Drug Charges
Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Carlos Jose Trejo Ruiz, age 35, of Wheaton, Maryland, to 30 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, on gun and drug charges related to a cocaine distribution conspiracy.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to evidence presented at his five-day trial, between July 2009 and August 17, 2010 Trejo conspired with Nestor Vladimir Sandoval Roca, a/k/a William Zapatero and others to distribute powder and crack cocaine. Law enforcement intercepted Trejo calling Sandoval several times each day, often discussing narcotics transactions and the collection of drug debts.
On at least four of the ten trips made by Sandoval during this investigation, Trejo drove Sandoval to Houston to purchase kilograms of cocaine from Sandoval’s supplier. Prior to Sandoval’s trips, Trejo often hid the cash used to purchase the cocaine inside a hidden compartment in Sandoval’s vehicle. When in Houston, he assisted Sandoval in hiding the cocaine from law enforcement, carefully wrapping the cocaine obtained from Sandoval’s source to hide the smell from law enforcement, placing the wrapped cocaine inside the hidden compartment in Sandoval’s vehicle. When back in Maryland, Trejo often removed the cocaine from the hidden compartment to bring into Sandoval’s home. Sandoval and Trejo usually converted about half of the powder cocaine into crack cocaine. Trejo assisted Sandoval in packaging and preparing the crack and powder cocaine for resale and was paid by Sandoval with drugs and cash. Trejo was typically paid $1,000 and crack cocaine to travel to Houston with Sandoval.
Trejo delivered cocaine and crack cocaine to and assisted Sandoval in collecting drug debts from Sandoval’s customers. For example, Trejo visited drug customers to demand that they pay the drug debts they owed to Sandoval and on June 24, 2010, delivered cocaine to one of Sandoval’s customers at the Willowbrook apartments. On at least two occasions in December 2009, Trejo sold cocaine that he had obtained from Sandoval to another conspirator.
Between March and May 2010, in furtherance of the drug conspiracy, Trejo sold a .556 caliber machine gun with no serial number to Sandoval in exchange for cocaine worth $800-$1,000. Trejo also sold 2 high capacity magazines and approximately 60 rounds of ammunition to Sandoval. On May 27, 2010, Sandoval sold the machine gun to a confidential informant along with 69.1 grams of crack cocaine, in a transaction that was monitored by law enforcement. In addition, Trejo was overheard assisting Sandoval in obtaining a shotgun.
At trial, Trejo elected to testify in his own defense, and made several false statements, including: that he reported the drug conspiracy to law enforcement and that he participated in the drug conspiracy only because he was threatened by Sandoval; that he originally believed that Sandoval went to Houston to buy cars, and not drugs; that he did not sell the machine gun to Sandoval; and that he did not sell cocaine on his own behalf.
The jury found that Trejo was responsible for distributing at least 280 grams of crack cocaine and at least 5 kilograms of powder cocaine.
On August 16, 2010, law enforcement arrested Sandoval as he traveled from Houston to Maryland, and seized approximately two kilograms of cocaine from his vehicle.
Nestor Vladimir Sandoval Roca, a/k/a William Zapatero, age 36, a citizen of El Salvador residing in College Park, Maryland, pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and was sentenced to 210 months in prison.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Christen A. Sproule and Mara Zusman Greenberg, who prosecuted the case.