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KEY FIGURE IN PIERCE COUNTY DRUG DISTRIBUTION RING SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON
Defendant and his Pregnant Wife Distributed Pound Quantities of Meth and Cocaine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2007

THOMAS MENDOZA-AGUILAR, 25, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Methamphetamine and Heroin, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute, and Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute. MENDOZA-AGUILAR was a key member of a prolific Pierce County drug distribution ring that U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton described as “one of the biggest conspiracies prosecuted in my courtroom.” MENDOZA-AGUILAR and other members of the ring were arrested and prosecuted following a lengthy investigation with court approved wire-taps.

MENDOZA-AGUILAR and his wife, Rosalva Villavicencio-Chavez, 23, of Tacoma, Washington, were heard on numerous wire tap conversations lining up drug deals. When agents searched their apartment they found cocaine, methamphetamine, cutting agents and packaging materials as well as $3,000 cash hidden in a rice bag. Villavicencio-Chavez and MENDOZA-AGUILAR returned to the apartment while the agents were conducting the search. Villavicencio-Chavez was more than eight months pregnant with MENDOZA-AGUILAR’s daughter, and had hidden a kilo of cocaine under her clothing. Villavicencio-Chavez was sentenced earlier this year to 37 months in prison.

In passing sentence, the Judge noted that methamphetamine was an “insidious poison” and suggested that MENDOZA-AGUILAR should reflect on how he would feel if someone hooked his daughter on the drug.

Other members of the same conspiracy previously sentenced include EDUARDO GOMEZ-RAMIREZ, 26, of Kalama, Washington, who was sentenced to 60 months in prison. GOMEZ-RAMIREZ picked up drugs from ring members in Tacoma and distributed them in Southwest Washington. A search of GOMEZ-RAMIREZ’s apartment revealed not only cocaine, methamphetamine and cash, but ten cellular phones. GOMEZ-RAMIREZ’s roommate was still wearing an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet as part of his pretrial release on a drug case in Nebraska.

MANUEL BRAVO-GERALDO, 24, of SeaTac, Washington was sentenced to 37 months in prison. In BRAVO-GERALDO’s apartment investigators found cocaine, methamphetamine, cutting agents, scales, packaging materials and more than $40,000 in cash hidden in the oven.
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 DEA and the Washington State Patrol, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office, Tacoma Police Department, and the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Thomas and Vince Lombardi.

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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