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Press Release

Drug Trafficker With Ties to Sinaloa Cartel Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Washington
Pasco, Washington Man Sentenced in Federal Court

Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Jaime Montalvo-Mariscal, age 27, of Pasco, Washington, was sentenced November 18, 2019 after having pleaded guilty on July 22, 2019, to Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with the Intent to Distribute 50 grams or more of Actual Methamphetamine, 400 grams or more of Fentanyl and 1 Kilogram or more of Heroin. Senior United States District Judge Nielsen sentenced Montalvo-Mariscal to a 210-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 5-year term of court supervision should Montalvo be allowed to return to the United States.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Montalvo-Mariscal was a member of a substantial drug trafficking organization (DTO) with direct ties to the Sinaloa cartel. During the investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized over 40 pounds of methamphetamine, 5 pounds of heroin, approximately 40,000 counterfeit pharmaceutical pills laced with fentanyl (known on the street as “fake oxys” because they are designed to look like brand-name oxycodone pills), a cache of firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition. The investigation revealed that the DTO shipped this quantity of drugs to Eastern Washington on a bi-weekly basis. Montalvo-Mariscal’s role in the DTO included collecting cash proceeds from drug trafficking. During one two-month period, Montalvo collected drug proceeds exceeding $700,000, which he then sent the DTO’s leadership in Sinaloa, Mexico.

The quantity of Fentanyl-laced pills seized during this investigation represented one of the largest seizures of its kind in the Eastern District of Washington. Fentanyl is largely responsible for the increase in drug overdoses and deaths in the community. Based upon targeted investigations by the DEA, Tri-Cities FBI Safe Streets Task Force and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington, law enforcement was able to identify, arrest and prosecute multiple Fentanyl distributors like Montalvo who were supplying distributors between 2500 and 5000 pills per week in this area.

During sentencing proceedings, Senior Judge Nielsen described fentanyl as the most dangerous and insidious drug in the community. While recognizing that Mr. Montalvo-Mariscal had no previous criminal history, Senior Judge Nielsen emphasized the importance of deterrence in imposing sentence, given the staggering quantity of drugs involved and the horrific impact those drugs have on the community.

United States Attorney Hyslop said, “Counterfeit pharmaceutical pills laced with fentanyl that are intentionally made by drug trafficking organizations to look like oxycodone create a very serious risk to the health and safety of the community. Targeting those who manufacture and distribute fentanyl-laced pills is a high priority and an essential part of attacking the opioid addiction crisis in our community. This is an incredibly dangerous drug; taking one pill can kill a person. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington intends on prosecuting every fentanyl distribution case that can be proved. I commend the outstanding efforts of the DEA, FBI and our state and local law enforcement partners who investigated this case.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis was pleased with the sentencing further adding that “Opioid abuse is spreading like wildfire devastating our communities and we will aggressively pursue those most responsible for fueling the flames.”

Today’s enforcement action is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes. This OCDETF investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration Tri Cities Task Force in partnership with the Kennewick, Pasco and Richland Police Departments. This case was prosecuted by Stephanie Van Marter, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated November 19, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Release Number: 4:18-CR-6038-WFN