News and Press Releases

TACOMA MAN SENTENCED TO TEN YEARS IN PRISON IN CONNECTION WITH DRUG DISTRIBUTION CONSPIRACY
Defendant’s Home Contained Large Quantities of Heroin and Cocaine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 11, 2008

MARCIANO MENDEZ-MAYA, 29, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute. MENDEZ-MAYA was charged June 1, 2006, following a lengthy investigation with court approved wire-taps. The investigation was dubbed “Operation Garage Sale” because some of the conspirators sold drugs from a garage. MENDEZ-MAYA was ultimately arrested on other drug charges in Oregon, and was brought to the Western District of Washington in April 2007, to face the charges here. MENDEZ-MAYA pleaded guilty on April 11, 2008. In the judgement and sentence signed by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton, it notes that MENDEZ-MAYA, a Mexican national, will likely be deported following his prison term.

In court papers prosecutors describe the role of MENDEZ-MAYA in the drug ring as being the “spokes of the wheel” between the drug supplier at the center, and many distributors and customers. Prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo that MENDEZ-MAYA “served as the primary go-between for (the suppliers), delivering drugs to, and picking up money from, their customers.” At the time search warrants were served in the case, MENDEZ-MAYA was found to have more than 1,100 grams of heroin and nearly 400 grams of cocain in his home. The ten year sentence is the mandatory minimum sentence given the drug quantities involved.

Other members of the same conspiracy previously sentenced include Carlos McPhie, 34, of Tacoma, Washington, sentenced in November 2007, to nine years in prison and five years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, Methamphetamine and Heroin. 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’ 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 Sea-Tac, 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.

Thomas Mendoza-Aguilar, 25, was sentenced in August 2007, to ten years in prison and five years of supervised release and his wife Rosalva Villavicencio-Chavez, 23, was sentenced to 37 months in prison. When agents searched the couple’s apartment they found cocaine, methamphetamine, cutting agents and packaging materials as well as $3,000 cash hidden in a rice bag. Rosalva Villavicencio-Chavez, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was carrying a kilo of cocaine hidden under her clothing.

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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