Drug Courier Sentenced to over 12 Years in Prison

October 12, 2010

Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus, sentenced Christian Arechiga, age 27, of Rancho Cucamonga, California, today to 151 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and possession of a firearm by an illegal drug user.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Colonel Terrence Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

According to Arechiga’s guilty plea, from the end of 2008 through May 15, 2009, Arechiga was part of a drug conspiracy that obtained heroin from a source of supply in California, then sold the heroin to customers in the Washington DC metropolitan area and New York. On at least two occasions, Arechiga transported heroin from the source of supply in California to his co-conspirators in Maryland and at least once transported drug proceeds from them to the source of supply in California.

On May 15, 2009, Arechiga arrived in Maryland with two kilograms of heroin. Arechiga met with his co-conspirators and another person in College Park, Maryland, placed a backpack containing the drugs into the trunk of the co-conspirators’ car, and got in the car. They left the area, but were stopped by law enforcement officers a short distance away. From the trunk of the car, officers retrieved the backpack containing the two kilograms of heroin, as well as an unloaded Firestorm .45 caliber compact semiautomatic pistol and two empty magazines.

A search of Arechiga’s hotel room recovered another handgun, a Colt Series 80, .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol and an extra magazine loaded with eight rounds of .45 caliber ammunition. An additional magazine, loaded with seven rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, was found in Arechiga’s car.

At the time of his arrest, Arechiga was actively engaged in the regular unlawful use of marijuana, which prohibited him from possessing a gun.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI and Maryland State Police for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney Barbara S. Skalla, who prosecuted the case.

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