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Feb. 3, 2012

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Career Offender Gets Hefty Sentence in Cocaine Case

McALLEN, Texas – Octavio Lopez-Ramos, 29, of Mexico, has been sentenced to 348 months imprisonment for possessing with intent to distribute approximately 72 kilograms of cocaine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The sentence imposed by Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa at a hearing this afternoon in McAllen will be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release.

Lopez was charged in September 2010 and later pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. At his plea on Dec. 3, 2010, he admitted that on Aug. 26, 2010, he had possessed with the intent to distribute approximately 72 kilograms of cocaine. The cocaine was discovered by officers with the McAllen Police Department (MPD) and special agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) during the execution of a search warrant at the residence where Lopez had been staying. 

In arriving at the lengthy prison term, the court took into consideration, among other things, that Lopez’s criminal history fell within the career offender provision of the sentencing guidelines, as he had previously been convicted in Texas of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and two counts of aggravated kidnapping in 2007. Furthermore, at the time of Lopez’s arrest in August 2010, he was a fugitive from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as he had escaped from their custody in April 2010. At the time of his escape, Lopez was serving a 12-year term of imprisonment for the 2007 drug conviction and a 20-year-term of imprisonment for the 2007 aggravated kidnapping convictions which were being served concurrently.

Lopez, who has been in custody without bond since his arrest, will remain in federal custody to serve his sentence. Upon completion of his sentence, he will be returned to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to serve the remainder of his state sentences.     

ICE-HSI and MPD investigated the case, which was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Linda Requénez.