Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Drug Conviction
Las Vegas, Nev. – Jesus Mendez, 41, of Sylmar, California, was sentenced on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, to 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release for his conviction on cocaine trafficking charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
On January 18, 2008, Jesus Mendez was arrested after law enforcement authorities discovered approximately six kilograms of cocaine hidden in a metal box in the rear bumper of the Volkswagen Jetta Mendez was driving on Interstate 15 near Las Vegas.
Mendez pleaded guilty on April 21, 2009, to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. At sentencing, Mendez' attorney argued that he should be sentenced below the statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years because Mendez was merely a drug courier who was delivering the cocaine from Sylmar, California, to Denver, Colorado, and because he had cooperated with authorities. The government argued that Mendez should not receive a reduced sentence because he had not been truthful with authorities, and that in fact, he was under investigation by federal authorities in the San Francisco area and suspected of being a straw buyer/nominee owner of three pieces of real property in that area purchased with $700,000 of drug trafficking proceeds from a heroin distribution organization led by his cousins. The Court found that the defendant should be sentenced to the mandatory minimum, and imposed the 10-year sentence.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amber M. Craig.