SAN JOSE – Hector David Lopez-Banuelos was sentenced yesterday to 181 months in prison, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge Tatum King.
Lopez-Banuelos, 35, of Salinas, Calif., was convicted by a jury on August 27, 2014, of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.
Evidence at trial showed that Lopez-Banuelos possessed 814.5 grams of cocaine, 464.7 grams of actual methamphetamine, and a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Law enforcement officers discovered the drugs and weapon during the execution of a state probation search on Lopez-Banuelos’s residence. During the search, officers found a digital scale, a cutting agent, and notebooks containing entries consistent with drug trafficking activity. Officers also found 50 rounds of ammunition hidden behind a false outlet box in the wall. In addition, officers found a bulletproof vest in the residence.
Lopez-Banuelos was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 18, 2013. The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Edward J. Davila, U.S. District Court Judge, following the jury’s return of guilty verdicts on two counts of 21 U.S.C. Section 841, one count of 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g), and one count of 18 U.S.C. Section 924(c). Judge Davila also sentenced the defendant to a five-year period of supervised release. The defendant, who had been in custody, was remanded to the Bureau of Prisons to commence service of his sentence.
The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement – HSI, the Monterey County Peninsula Regional Violence and Narcotics Team, the Seaside Police Department, and the Monterey County Probation Department.