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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 7, 2016

Father And Son Charged With Drug Related Murder On The Hoopa Indian Reservation

SAN FRANCISCO – Rodney Vincent Ortiz and Vincent Rudy Ortiz were arraigned in federal court today for their alleged involvement in the March 21, 2015, drug related shooting and murder on the Hoopa Indian Reservation in Humboldt County, California, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.

Rodney Ortiz, 53, and Vincent Ortiz, 26, of Willow Creek, Calif., were indicted by a federal grand jury on December 17, 2015.  In the indictment, the defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, use of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime causing murder, obstruction of justice, and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. 

Rodney and Vincent Ortiz made their initial appearances before the Honorable Laurel Beeler, United States Magistrate Court Judge today.  The defendants are being held pending a bail hearing currently scheduled for January 14, 2016, before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero.  A status conference is scheduled for February 2, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg.            

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The maximum statutory penalty for each of the charged offenses is:

  • Drug conspiracy, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846 and 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(D): five years imprisonment, two years supervised release, and a fine of $250,000;
  • Use of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Drug Trafficking Crime, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c): life imprisonment, mandatory minimum term of 10 years imprisonment, and carries a 25 year mandatory minimum consecutive term of prison for each second or successive 924(c) conviction, five years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine;
  • Use of a Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime Causing Murder, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 924(j): death or life imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine;
  • Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice and Obstruction of Justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(1)(1)(C) and (k): 30 years imprisonment, five years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine;
  • Use of a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c): life imprisonment, mandatory minimum term of 10 years imprisonment, and carries a 25 year mandatory minimum consecutive term of prison for each second or successive 924(c) conviction, up to five years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Hopkins is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Lance Libatique.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office, Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Eureka Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated January 11, 2016