News and Press Releases

“Ice” Brought up Through California Welded Inside Car’s Driveshaft

May 24, 2006

ROMULO BAUTISTA-OCAMPO, 27, of Riverside, California, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to six years in prison and five years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine. U.S. District Judge Franklin D. Burgess has already sentenced two other co-defendants in the case. All three men are Mexican Nationals who will be deported following their prison terms.

According to court filings, BAUTISTA-OCAMPO, was arrested on March 13, 2005 after a confidential source working with the Tacoma DEA/TNET drug task force, made deals to purchase methamphetamine from co-defendant Gustavo Miramontes-Ponce. In one of the Tacoma deliveries, Miramontes-Ponce had used his nine year old child to deliver the drugs, placing them in a potato chip bag and having the child walk the bag over to the buyer. Miramontes-Ponce claimed he could deny knowledge of the drugs saying his son had just picked up the bag from the ground if he was ever questioned by police. Following these two purchases in February 2005, the Confidential Source asked Miramontes-Ponce to sell him four and a half pounds of methamphetamine for $50,000. Miramontes-Ponce said his supplier would bring the drugs up from California.

BAUTISTA-OCAMPO and co-defendant Jesus Flores-Manzo drove the drugs up to Western Washington welded inside the driveshaft of Flores-Manzo’s Cadillac. When law enforcement moved in on the Seattle apartment where the drug deal was to occur, the men ran out the back and were arrested on the children’s playground. Agents found more than 2,000 grams of highly pure methamphetamine in the apartment.

Gustavo Miramontes-Ponce pleaded guilty October 25, 2005, and was sentenced January 13, 2006 to six years in prison. Jesus Flores-Manzo pleaded guilty February 6, 2006 and was sentenced last month to ten years in prison.

The case was investigated by the DEA/TNET Task Force, comprised of DEA agents and local law enforcement officers from Tacoma Police, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, Washington State Department of Corrections, Bonney Lake Police and Auburn Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Douglas J. Hill. Hill is a Deputy Pierce County Prosecutor who is specially designated to handle drug cases in Federal Court.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206)553-4110.

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