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Jan. 18, 2012

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Corpus Christi Meth Conspirator to Serve 24+ Years in Federal Prison

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Jose Antonio Ortiz Jr., of Corpus Christi, has been sentenced today for his involvement in a methamphetamine conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Ortiz was found guilty by a federal jury on Nov. 4, 2011.

Senior United States District Judge Hayden Head, who presided over the trial, sentenced Ortiz today to 292 months imprisonment to be followed by a 10-year-term of supervised release in addition to a $5,000 fine. In total, Ortiz was found responsible for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 963.6 grams of methamphetamine.

Ortiz, 32, was charged by criminal complaint in July 2010 along with Juan Luis Chavez for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 851.4 grams of methamphetamine. The indictment, returned Aug. 11, 2010, was superseded twice to include defendants Jason Wilson, Tracy Chaffin, John Gomez and Veronica Munguia who, along with Chavez, all subsequently pleaded guilty. Chaffin and Chavez are pending sentencing. Wilson and Gomez were previously sentenced to 98 and 40 months in prison, respectively. Munguia is pending sentencing.

Evidence at trial demonstrated that in March 2010, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) agents received information that a shipment of methamphetamine would be arriving in Corpus Christi and that the drugs were destined for delivery to Gomez and Ortiz. DPS agents and officers of the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) conducted a search of a residence known to be utilized by Gomez and Munguia on March 10, 2010, and found a large amount of methamphetamine in addition to smaller amounts of cocaine and marijuana. Both Chavez and Ortiz were present during the search of this residence and were arrested for state drug violations. Shortly thereafter, DPS contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Prior to the March 10 arrest, DEA agents had uncovered a methamphetamine distribution network operated by Wilson and whose source of supply for the drugs was Ortiz. Agents had seized 112.2 grams of methamphetamine in an undercover operation involving Ortiz, Chavez, Wilson and Chaffin on Feb. 24, 2010. 

The jury heard that Ortiz solicited Chavez to transport illegal drugs from Weslaco, Texas, to Corpus Christi, Texas, for $1500, on at least one occasion. Ortiz was the individual who directed Chavez in all aspects of this particular transportation and it was Ortiz who formulated the plan to outfit Chavez’s van with a hidden compartment.

At the trial, all five co-defendants and another cooperating individual testified that Ortiz was a leader of this methamphetamine conspiracy. Additionally, telephone records were introduced which confirmed that Wilson and Ortiz were in contact with each other during the period of this conspiracy from February 2010 to July 2010.

The case was jointly investigated by DPS, DEA and the CCPD and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Hess and Julie K. Hampton.