Jose Enrique Santiago-ramirez Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on May 9, 2012, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, JOSE ENRIQUE SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ, a 48-year-old resident of Waite Park, Minnesota, appeared for sentencing. SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ was sentenced to a term of:
- Prison: 120 months
- Special Assessment: $100
- Supervised Release: 5 years
SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ was sentenced in connection with his guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Seykora, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On January 10, 2011, SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ traveled from St. Cloud, MInnesota with Librado Gomez-Correa and Eliseo Domingues-Chalpeno in a car registered to Gomez-Correa's girlfriend. They registered at a motel in Billings early on January 11, 2011. The three then met with another individual driving a SUV with Washington license plates.
While in Billings, they made or attempted to make cash withdrawals from various ATM machines throughout Billings.
SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ and his co-conspirators were in one grocery store for about 20 minutes and, working in concert, shopped for and purchased a large box of Tide detergent, a cutlery set, Krazy glue and other items. As the three co-conspirators left the store, they were all observed on a security video opening the trunk of their vehicle.
The items purchased at the store were used to cut open the Tide box and glue it shut - 836.2 grams of 97.6% methamphetamine or 816.1 grams of actual methamphetamine was secreted inside.
The three left Billings heading back to Minnesota with SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ driving when they were stopped by the Montana Highway Patrol, who seized the methamphetamine pursuant to a consent search.
When questioned by law enforcement officers, SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ admitted he was recruited by Librado Gomez Correa to help drive to Montana. SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ later said he made the trip to look for work in Montana, particularly a roofing job. However, SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ admitted he never interviewed for a job, talked with anyone about a job, looked at job ads in a newspaper, or went to an employment office, and had no work clothes. SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ further admitted that he saw his co-conspirators Gomez Correa and Domingues-Chalpeno working with the Tide box, and afterwards they gave him the Krazy glue and knives that they had purchased and he put the items in his bag.
Gomez-Correa financed the drug run from Minnesota to Montana with his credit card, including auto repairs, gas, groceries, motel rooms, and cash.
When questioned by law enforcement officers, co-conspirator Gomez-Correa admitted he recruited SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ and Eliseo Domingues Chalpeno to come to Montana with him and that they were both aware of the reason for the trip. He further admitted he received two plastic bags of "jello" or methamphetamine, and that he owed $14,000 for the methamphetamine he received in Billings. His supplier was from Washington and he made phone contact with him to arrange his arrival in Billings within hours of each other so the exchange of methamphetamine could be made.
One witness at the hotel saw SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ and his two co-conspirators meet and drive off with a fourth male. Law enforcement officers determined this to be the Washington source of supply for the methamphetamine that was hidden in the Tide Box.
Librado Gomez-Correa pled guilty to federal charges and Eliseo Domingues-Chalpeno was found guilty at trial. Both are awaiting sentencing.
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, SANTIAGO-RAMIREZ does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Montana Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration.