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VANCOUVER RESIDENT SENTENCED TO MORE THAN 11 YEARS IN PRISON FOR GUN AND DRUG CHARGES - Mexican National Conspired to Distribute Highly Pure Methamphetamine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2006

JOSE ANGEL LOPEZ-AGUILAR, 26, of Vancouver, Washington was sentenced September 8, 2006 to 135 months in prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and being an Alien in Possession of a Firearm. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton noted that the case involved a large amount of highly pure methamphetamine, and therefore deserved a significant prison sentence. Following his prison term LOPEZ-AGUILAR will be deported.

LOPEZ-AGUILAR was arrested on January 14, 2006 as he and two other co-conspirators returned by car to the Vancouver, Washington area from California. The men had been under investigation as part of “Operation Methopotamia” which focused on methamphetamine dealing in Southwest Washington. Under the back seat of the car in which LOPEZ-AGUILAR was a passenger, authorities found more than eight pounds of methamphetamine with a purity of 98%. Such highly pure methamphetamine, dubbed “Ice” has been flowing into the northwest up the I-5 corridor from Mexico. Authorities also found $12,000 in cash in the car. When officers searched LOPEZ-AGUILAR’s home they found a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun and a digital scale for use in drug distribution.

LOPEZ-AGUILAR pleaded guilty on May 30, 2006.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew H. Thomas and Sarah Vogel.

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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