Drug-Related Shootout in The Arizona Desert Results in Lengthy Prison Sentences for Six Traffickers and Bandits
TUCSON, Ariz. – Yesterday, Pedro Ojeda-Ramirez, 24, and Ulises Alaim Saijas-Zamorano, 22, both of Mexico, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to prison terms of 140 months and 60 months, respectively. Both had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, and Ojeda-Ramirez also had pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. In addition, four other defendants had previously pleaded guilty to related drug and firearm offenses and received prison terms ranging from 60 to 140 months.
“This outcome is a testament to the dedicated and collaborative work of our partner law enforcement agencies,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange. “The convictions and sentences should serve as a warning to both smugglers and bajadores alike.”
“This sentence is yet another example of the vital work being conducted by HSI and its law enforcement partners to target and ultimately dismantle dangerous transnational drug trafficking organizations that are spreading crime and violence in our communities,” said Louie Garcia, acting special agent in charge of HSI Phoenix. “HSI’s collaborative efforts to combat this threat will continue. For those who are still out there committing these types of crimes, we have a warning, “wherever you are, we’ll reach you and you’ll be brought to justice for your insidious actions.”
On May 2, 2016, U.S. Border Patrol agents responded to a 911 call from a male subject who claimed he had been shot near a known drug-smuggling corridor within the Tohono O’odham reservation in Arizona. Agents in helicopters, vehicles, and on foot responded to the remote scene and found two men, one of whom had sustained gunshot wounds to his legs. Agents also found ten bundles of marijuana weighing approximately 224 kilograms, two AK-47-style firearms, a pistol, ammunition, a tactical vest, and a black ski mask.
After determining the two men were bajadores, or bandits, who had stolen the drugs from a rival group of drug traffickers, agents began searching for members of the other group. That night, agents located Ojeda-Ramirez less than three miles from the scene of the shooting. Ojeda-Ramirez admitted that he and others had shot at the bajadores in an effort to retrieve the stolen drugs but had fled once they heard the approaching Border Patrol helicopters. A few days later, a Pinal County Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop near Arizona City, Ariz., of a Ford pickup truck containing thirteen men. Agents determined that all thirteen occupants were unauthorized aliens and further determined that three of the occupants (including Saijas-Zamorano) had been involved in various ways in the robbery and retaliatory shooting.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Border Patrol, and the Tohono O’odham Police Department. The prosecutions arising from the investigation were handled by Serra M. Tsethlikai, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.
CASE NUMBER: CR-16-1111-TUC-CKJ and CR 16-1112-TUC-CKJ
RELEASE NUMBER: 2017-008_ Pedro Ojeda-Ramirez et al.
# # #
For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
Follow the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, on Twitter @USAO_AZ for the latest news.