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Press Release

Moses Lake Man Sentenced to 140 Months in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

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

Spokane, Washington – On May 17, 2023, U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice sentenced Irbin Martinez-Santacruz, 30, of Moses Lake, Washington, to 140 months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. District Judge Rice also ordered Martinez-Santacruz to serve five years on federal supervision after he is released from prison.

According to court documents, Martinez-Santacruz, a documented gang member, conspired with other gang members to engage in the distribution of methamphetamine to an undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In April 2020, ATF agents initiated an investigation into the illegal activities of the Lil Valley Lokotes, which is a criminal street gang associated with the Surenos. During the investigation, ATF learned that Martinez-Santacruz’s codefendant, Mario Crittenden, was selling large quantities of methamphetamine, which had been supplied by another member of the Lil Valley Lokotes. The agents also learned that several members of the Lil Valley Lokotes were suspected of participating in shooting incidents in the Moses Lake area. During a year-long investigation, Martinez-Santacruz was identified as one of Crittenden’s co-conspirators. Martinez-Santacruz also distributed methamphetamine to the undercover agent on three occasions in the Moses Lake area.

In imposing yesterday’s sentence, District Judge Rice expressed that this was not a single mistake and highlighted the significant nature and seriousness of the conspiracy as well as Martinez-Santacruz’s significant criminal history and role in the offense. District Judge Rice had previously sentenced Mario Crittenden to 132 months imprisonment following his plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Another co-defendant, Cody Flores, previously was sentenced to 140 months of imprisonment following his plea of guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Five other co-defendants’ cases remain pending.

United States Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref commended the joint efforts of law enforcement for the careful investigation and close-working relationship with the U.S. Attorney’s Office: “As a result of the ATF investigation into the Lil Valley Loketes, which are affiliated with the Surenos, our community is a safer place. This organization was responsible for a number of shooting incidents in and around the Moses Lake area. I’m grateful for the excellent work our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, as well as that of AUSA Pat Cashman, who worked together to bring Mr. Martinez-Santacruz to justice.”

“Today’s sentence demonstrates that criminal activities like these will not be tolerated,” said ATF Seattle Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jonathan T. McPherson. “When you poison our communities, ATF and our law enforcement partners will be there to stop you.” 

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.

This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Agency of the ATF, the FBI Spokane Regional Safe Streets Task Force, Moses Lake Police Department, and Grant County Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team. This case was prosecuted by Patrick J. Cashman, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.



Richard Barker 
Assistant United States Attorney and Public Affairs Officer
509-835-6311 or

Updated May 22, 2023

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking