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May 8, 2013

Department of Justice

United States Attorney William C. Killian Eastern District of Tennessee


Cocaine And Firearm Convictions Result In 84 Month Sentence For Esgar Escamella Estrella

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Esgar Escamella Estrella, 29, of Morristown, Tenn., was sentenced on May 7, 2013, by the Honorable Leon Jordan, U.S. District Court Judge, to serve 84 months in federal prison for his convictions of participation in a cocaine conspiracy and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense in Morristown, Tenn.

In January 2012, Estrella supplied cocaine for a scheduled nine ounce transaction in Morristown. It was agreed that two ounces would be sold initially and if the cocaine was good quality, another seven ounce transaction would follow. Estrella brought a 9 mm pistol with him to the transaction. To complete the deal, Estrella, along with co-conspirators Isidoro Garcia, Martin Flores Perez and Jorge Olquin Vazquez, met an individual (who unbeknownst to them at the time was working on behalf of law enforcement) at a Morristown BP station. While Garcia personally dealt with the individual, Estrella went inside the store, leaving the firearm inside their vehicle. Law enforcement agents swiftly moved in and arrested Garcia, Perez and Vazquez. Estrella fled out the back door of the BP station and through the woods.

Later the same day, Estrella approached a residence located approximately one mile from the BP station and offered an occupant of the residence $100.00 to drive him elsewhere. Unbeknownst to Estrella, the person he solicited was an off duty police officer. Upon contacting dispatch and learning of the events, Estrella was identified and placed under arrest by the off-duty officer.

Estrella, Garcia, Perez and Vazquez are all in the United States illegally and face deportation from the United States after serving their respective sentences.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the investigation which led to the indictment and subsequent conviction of Estrella and others include the Drug Enforcement Administration, Morristown Tennessee Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol Criminal Investigation Division and Third Judicial District Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne Taylor represented the United States.

United States Attorney William C. Killian stated, “We are pleased with the sentence in this case and believe it reflects the seriousness of the crimes committed. Our prosecutors and the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies working together on this case did a tremendous job.”

This case was part of the Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) programs. OCDETF is the primary weapon of the United States against the highest level drug trafficking organizations operating within the United States, importing drugs into the United States, or laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking. The HIDTA program enhances and coordinates drug control efforts among local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies. The program provides agencies with coordination, equipment, technology, and additional resources to combat drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States.

Funding for some of the task forces involved in this investigation also came from the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Area Task Force (HIDTA) which was created in 1998, one of 32 areas in the nation that have been designated as HIDTAs. The HIDTA Program began in 1988 when Congress authorized the Director of The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to designate areas within the United States which exhibit serious drug trafficking problems and harmfully impact other areas of the country as HIDTAs. The HIDTA Program provides additional federal resources to those areas to help eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences.

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