El Paso Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Cocaine, Methamphetamine and Marijuana Conspiracy
LAS CRUCES – today, in federal court in Las Cruces, El Paso resident Hortencia Lozano De Beltran, 45, pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Beltran also pled guilty to four counts of distribution of cocaine, six counts of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, and six counts of using a minor to commit a drug trafficking offense. Beltran has been in federal custody since June 9, 2010, and will remain detained pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that these charges resulted from a two-year Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) investigation of a cocaine trafficking organization operating in Southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. Gonzales also said that the investigation was designated as an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) case. OCDETF is a nationwide program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. This investigation was part of Project Deliverance, a national coordinated strike against Mexican-based drug trafficking organizations. This DEA initiative focused on disrupting the transportation infrastructure of these drug organizations in the United States.
During her plea hearing, Beltran admitted that between May 2009 and June 2010, she participated in a conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. She also admitted that on May 9, 2009, she and two co-conspirators delivered three kilograms of cocaine to an undercover agent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to the plea agreement filed in the case, Beltran admitted that she delivered cocaine on nine occasions between February 2010 and May 2010, and that she took her minor daughter with her on six of those deliveries to try to conceal the criminal nature of the trips from law enforcement.
At sentencing, Beltran faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years of imprisonment on the conspiracy charge. The penalty for the remaining drug charges is a sentence of imprisonment of five to forty years, a $2,000,000 fine, and not less than five years of supervised release. The penalty for using a minor to assist in a drug trafficking crime is a sentence of imprisonment of five to eighty years, a $500,000 fine and not less than eight years of supervised release. This case was investigated by DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Renee Camacho and Michael Nammar.
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