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Press Release

High Speed Chase in Mono County Results in Drug Trafficking Charges for Nevada Woman

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment today against Elizabeth Marie Acuna, 34, of Sparks, Nevada, charging her with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, on Oct. 22, 2021, a law enforcement officer observed Acuna driving over 90 mph on Highway 395, in an unincorporated area of Mono County. The officer initiated a traffic stop by activating his overhead lights. In response, Acuna slowed her speed but did not immediately pull over. Instead, she drove her vehicle over the double yellow lines, driving north in the southbound lanes of the highway, before coming to a stop. Acuna admitted to the officer that she had drugs in the back of her vehicle. A subsequent search located 762.3 grams of cocaine wrapped in two cellophane packages.

At the time of the stop, Acuna was on federal pretrial release on a pending August 2021 drug charge in Oregon.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alstyn Bennett is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Acuna faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum statutory penalty of 40 years in prison and a $5 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated January 20, 2022

Drug Trafficking