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Press Release

Sinaloa Cartel Associate Sentenced to 10 Year Prison Term for Drug Trafficking

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 Jose Luis Muniz, age 38, of Pasco, Washington, was sentenced today after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine and five kilograms of cocaine. Senior United States District Judge Wm Fremming Nielsen sentenced Muniz to a 135-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 5-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Muniz was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Muniz was a member of the Bueno Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO), a part of the Sinaloa cartel. On behalf of the DTO, beginning in 2014 Muniz distributed large quantities of cocaine and kept track of the organization’s drug shipments and cash drug proceeds that were collected and returned to German Bueno, the DTO’s leader, in Sinaloa, Mexico. During the investigation, several ledgers were seized from Muniz’s residence and documented monthly narcotic shipments in excess of 100 pounds and the cash value for each shipment. In 2016, Bueno was murdered in Mexico. During sentencing, Senior Judge Nielsen commented about Muniz’s aggravated role in the DTO. Judge Nielsen further noted that Muniz had a stable source of legitimate employment but instead chose to align himself with a dangerous DTO responsible for importing, transporting, and distributing significant quantities of narcotics into the Eastern District of Washington.

United States Attorney Hyslop said, “The sentence imposed by the court removes a drug trafficker from our streets and sends a clear message to others who may choose to engage in such criminal activity. I commend the law enforcement officers with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Spokane Police Department, and Oregon State Patrol, who investigated this case. Their seamless partnership resulted in the successful outcome of this matter. ”

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 was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case was investigated by the Tri-Cities Resident Office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Spokane Resident Office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Spokane Police Department, and the Oregon State Patrol. This case was prosecuted by Stephanie Van Marter and Richard Barker, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

Updated July 24, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 17-CR-06014-WFN-6; 7-CR-2042-WFN-7