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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment yesterday against two defendants, charging them with drug trafficking offenses, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
Felix Ortiz-Plata, 41, a Mexican national residing in Stockton, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, five counts of distribution of methamphetamine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Anuar Castaneda Ortiz, 26, a Mexican national residing in Sacramento, is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
According to court documents, between August 22, 2022, and December 5, 2022, Ortiz-Plata and Castaneda Ortiz conspired with one another to sell methamphetamine to a DEA confidential source. On Dec. 5, 2022, California Highway Patrol officers conducted a traffic stop on Castaneda Ortiz’s vehicle. During a subsequent search, officers located over 260 pounds of crystal methamphetamine packaged in 90 plastic bags in the backseat and trunk of the vehicle.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Forest Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Land Management, and the California Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alstyn Bennett is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Ortiz-Plata and Castaneda Ortiz face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 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 defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.