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Press Release

Jury Convicts Michigan Man for Trafficking Cocaine, Heroin from California to Midwest

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Following trial last week, a jury deliberated for two hours before returning guilty verdicts on all counts against Omar Gutierrez-Valle, 30, of Michigan, for his role in a conspiracy to traffic heroin and cocaine. Chief U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow presided over the trial which began on March 11. The jury returned its guilty verdicts on March 14.

Over four days of testimony, the government presented evidence that Gutierrez-Valle was involved in a Mexico and California-based conspiracy to transport cocaine and heroin across the Mexican border into California and thereafter to the Midwest and elsewhere: 

     In January and February 2017, Gutierrez-Valle worked with an unnamed California coordinator to move a shipment of 10 kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin to the Midwest. The California coordinator had paid to illegally smuggle a Mexican national into the United States. To pay off his debt relative to being smuggled into the U.S., the coordinator told him that he was to help Gutierrez-Valle meet a courier in the Chicago area to receive a shipment of drugs. The coordinator brought the Mexican national from Los Angeles to Chicago via Amtrak and the coordinator returned to California, where he provided an over the road truck driver with the load of drugs.

     On the day of the expected meeting and delivery, Feb. 26, 2017, the Illinois State Police stopped the truck driver in Henry County, Ill., for a motor vehicle safety inspection. The trooper discovered the 10 kilograms of cocaine and one kilogram of heroin in the truck. Police then arranged for the truck to proceed to the agreed delivery location, a truck stop off I-80 near LaSalle, Ill., where Gutierrez-Valle met the truck to receive the drugs.

Judge Darrow scheduled sentencing for Gutierrez-Valle on July 11, 2019. Gutierrez-Valle remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since his arrest in May 2018.

At sentencing, Gutierrez-Valle faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years to life for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and at least one kilogram of heroin.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Illinois State Police, Black Hawk Area Task Force, and Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group investigated the charges. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Don Allegro and Alyssa Raya are prosecuting the case.


Sharon J. Paul, Public Information Officer

Updated March 18, 2019

Drug Trafficking