SAN JOSE, Calif. – Mike Gama was convicted by a federal jury Tuesday of both possession with intent to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and importation of a kilogram or more of heroin , United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.
The jury found that Gama had knowingly participated in a scheme to import heroin into the United States from Mexico when he accepted delivery of a package containing more than a kilogram of heroin concealed within a wooden tortilla press, and that he had possessed that heroin with the intent to distribute it to someone else. The guilty verdict followed a one-week jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Davila.
Evidence at trial showed that on June 20, 2011, Gama, 23, of Mountain View, Calif., received a package shipped from an address in Michoacan, Mexico via the commercial shipping company, DHL Express. The DHL package, which was addressed to him personally, contained, among other things, a wooden tortilla press containing 1.07 kilograms of a black tar-like substance, which subsequent lab testing confirmed as Mexican black tar heroin. Gama signed for the package and a search warrant was executed immediately thereafter to recover the package containing the heroin.
The DHL package addressed to Gama containing the heroin was first intercepted by Customs and Border Protection officers inspecting international shipments arriving at the DHL hub in Cincinnati, Ohio. HSI agents in San Jose were alerted to the package and were prepared to seize the package and the heroin when it arrived in California.
Gama was indicted by a federal grand jury on July 6, 2011. He was charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin and one count of importation of a kilogram or more of heroin.
Following the guilty verdict, Gama, who had been free on bond pending trial, was remanded immediately into the custody of the United States Marshal Service. Gama’s sentencing is scheduled for April 15, 2013, before United States District Court Judge Edward J. Davila in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of Title 21 of the United States Code, Sections 841 and 952 is life in prison, with a statutory mandatory minimum term of 10 years in prison, and a maximum fine of $10 million. 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.
Gary G. Fry and Amie D. Rooney are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tracey Andersen and Laurie Worthen. The prosecution is the result of an 18-month investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection.