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TACOMA MAN SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS IN PRISON IN CONNECTION WITH LARGEST EVER HEROIN BUST
More than 22 Kilos of Heroin Seized in Tacoma Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2009

ALFONSO IBANEZ MARTINEZ, aka Alejandro Barragan Lopez, 32, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 13 years in prison and five years of supervised release following his March 6, 2009, conviction for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin, Distribution of Heroin, and Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute. IBANEZ MARTINEZ was convicted following a three day trial. When ALFONSO IBANEZ MARTINEZ’ home on Park Avenue in Tacoma was searched in March 2007, investigators found more than 22 kilos of heroin hidden in secret compartments and within the plumbing fixtures. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle imposed the sentence.

According to records filed in the case and testimony at trial, IBANEZ MARTINEZ and a co-conspirator sold heroin to a confidential informant who was working with police. During January and February 2007, Tacoma Police officers observed IBANEZ MARTINEZ provide packages to his co-conspirator, who then sold the drugs to the confidential source. Three drug sales occurred in the parking lots of two Safeway Stores in Tacoma and the El Compadre store in Tacoma. Following one of the drug sales officers followed IBANEZ MARTINEZ to his home on Park Avenue. On March 1, 2007, IBANEZ MARTINEZ was arrested at the scene of a fourth drug sale, and his home and car were searched. Inside the car officers found heroin hidden behind a speaker in the door. Inside the home officers found packing materials and scales used in the drug trade. Concealed in some of the plumbing officers found 61 balls of heroin wrapped in duct tape – the heroin totaled about 15 kilos. In a hidden compartment above a closet officers found another 8.5 kilos of heroin. The total amount of heroin seized in the case surpassed any previous case in Tacoma.

Following IBANEZ MARTINEZ’s conviction, investigators learned that under a different name IBANEZ MARTINEZ had been convicted in 1998 in Pierce County Superior Court of drug trafficking. Had prosecutors known of this conviction prior to trial, IBANEZ MARTINEZ would have faced a twenty year mandatory minimum sentence. Both U.S. Probation and Special Assistant United States Attorney Doug Hill recommended a 20 prison term. “The defendant will undoubtedly claim that it was his own addiction to drugs that drove him to become a dealer himself, in order to support his own habit. While there certainly can be some truth to that statement by any drug addict/dealer, it is farcical to think that the defendant needed to become the biggest heroin dealer in the history of Tacoma in order to support his own personal drug habit,” Mr. Hill wrote in his sentencing memo.

The case was investigated by the Tacoma Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Doug Hill. Mr. Hill is a Deputy Pierce County Prosecutor specially designated to prosecute 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 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

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