MEXICAN NATIONAL WITH MULTIPLE FIREARMS SENTENCED TO NEARLY NINE YEARS IN PRISON FOR METH TRAFFICKING
Repeat Offender had Seven Firearms at Two Vancouver Residences
JESUS MENDOZA-VIRRUETA, 32, of Vancouver, Washington, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 106 months in prison and five years of supervised release for Possession of Methamphetamine with Intent to Distribute. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle told the defendant, “Surely you know how dangerous a drug methamphetamine is.” MENDOZA-VIRRUETA will likely be deported following his prison term.
According to records filed in the case, MENDOZA-VIRRUETA sold methamphetamine to a confidential informant working with the Vancouver Police Department on multiple occasions in September 2008. In early October investigators obtained search warrants for the mobile home on NW Whitney Road in Vancouver where MENDOZA-VIRRUETA had been observed both before and after drug deals. On October 8, 2008, MENDOZA-VIRRUETA was stopped and his vehicle and the mobile home were searched. Methamphetamine was found in plastic bags in both his car and the mobile home. Two guns were found in the first mobile home – a Mossberg .12 gauge shotgun and a Marlin .22 caliber rifle. MENDOZA-VIRRUETA ultimately admitted he lived at two different mobile homes in the same park. MENDOZA-VIRRUETA gave permission to search the second residence. Inside a closet investigators recovered a Kimber .22 caliber, rifle, a Marlin .22 caliber, rifle, a Mossberg Plinkster .22 caliber, rifle, a Winchester,.22 caliber, rifle, and a Chinese model MAK-90 rifle. Inside a bedroom at the residence investigators found a Colt .38 caliber pistol, with an obliterated serial number. Police also recovered more than $10,000 cash, multiple fake identification documents, drug cutting materials and digital scales. MENDOZA-VIRRUETA has prior felony convictions for drug trafficking in Oregon and in Arizona for illegally entering the United States.
MENDOZA-VIRRUETA pleaded guilty on February 26, 2009.
In his sentencing memo Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion wrote about MENDOZA-VIRRUETA saying he “was a heavily armed methamphetamine dealer and a tremendous danger to the community. Mendoza-Virrueta’s small arsenal of weapons speaks volumes about his willingness to use violence to defend his drugs and his drug profits. His 2000 heroin trafficking conviction obviously did not deter him from dealing drugs.”
The case was investigated by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mike Dion.
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.