Former Laredo Police Officer Sentenced to Prison for Drug Trafficking
|Aug, 4, 2011|
LAREDO, Texas – Former Laredo Police Department (LPD) officer Pedro Martinez III was sentenced to prison today by Senior U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Charged along with co-conspirator Guillermo Villarreal of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, Martinez, 34, of Laredo, pleaded guilty on Feb. 17, 2010, to that offense and also to conspiring with former LPD officer, Orlando Jesus Hale, to accept bribes to escort cocaine-loaded vehicles through Laredo. Today, Judge Kazen sentenced Martinez to 78 months in federal prison to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release.
At the time of his guilty plea, Martinez admitted that he introduced Villarreal, who he knew was engaged in trafficking cocaine, to another person for Villarreal to work out arrangements to store cocaine at the person’s residence. The residence was located near Villarreal’s residence and facilitated his cocaine trafficking activities. Villarreal made several sales of cocaine to undercover officers. Each time, Villarreal retrieved the cocaine from the storage facility owned by the person to whom Martinez had introduced him. On Sept. 29, 2009, investigating agents executed a warrant at the person’s residence located near Villarreal’s residence and seized approximately three kilograms of cocaine, a metal press used to press cocaine into kilogram-size bricks plus other narcotics trafficking paraphernalia such as scales, a blender and plastic wrap. Villarreal, who has also pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy charge, is pending sentencing.
Martinez also admitted conspiring with former LPD officer Hale to escort cocaine-loaded vehicles through Laredo. The officers used their police-issued radios to monitor LPD dispatch traffic during the escort. In 2008, Martinez met with an FBI undercover employee (UCE) and agreed to and did escort two vehicle – on Oct. 15, 2008, and again on Nov. 13, 2008, – that he believed contained approximately 20 kilograms of actual cocaine. Hale was involved in escorting the loaded vehicle in November. During each escort, Martinez actually escorted a “sham” load of cocaine from south Zapata Highway to north Laredo. For each escort, Martinez was paid $1,000 by an FBI UCE. Hale was charged separately for his role in this conspiracy and convicted in September 2010 by a jury’s verdict following a six-day trial of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense. He was sentenced on April 19, 2011, to a total of 295 months in federal prison without parole and fined $1000.
Martinez has been permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance of a court order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where he will serve his sentence.
The investigation leading to the charges and ultimately the conviction of Martinez and the others was conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations with the cooperation of the Laredo Police Department. Former Assistant United States Attorney Samuel Sheldon and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roberto F. Ramirez and James McAlister prosecuted the case.