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Press Release

Sioux City Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Offense and Child Pornography Offense

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A lawful permanent resident who possessed more than one-half pound of cocaine and child pornography pled guilty today, November 1, 2017, in federal court in Sioux City.


Jose Ramon Ortega-Ramirez, 23, from Sioux City, Iowa, was convicted of one count of possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and one count of possession of child pornography.


In a plea agreement, Ortega-Ramirez admitted that law enforcement intercepted a package from Mexico containing approximately 290.70 grams of cocaine.  The package was addressed to “Jhon Smith” and had Ortega-Ramirez’s address on it.  On August 4, 2017, law enforcement executed a controlled delivery of the package at Ortega-Ramirez’s.  On this day, Ortega-Ramirez approached the undercover agent, identified himself as “Jhon Smith,” signed for the package, and brought it into his home.  Shortly thereafter, officers executed a search warrant on the residence and found the package in Ortega-Ramirez’s bedroom hidden underneath a blanket on his bed.  After his arrest, Ortega-Ramirez claimed that he had accepted the package on behalf of the tenants in the upstairs apartment who he knew to sell cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana.  He claimed he expected to receive marijuana as compensation.  Shortly after the interview ended, Ortega-Ramirez attempted to escape from police custody by running approximately thirty feet and jumping over the second floor railing that was approximately twenty feet off the ground.  Before defendant exited the residence, five law enforcement officers subdued him.


In a plea agreement, Ortega-Ramirez also admitted that he possessed images conveying nude images of a minor.  Ortega-Ramirez also admitted that he also possessed images and videos of the minor engaging in sexually explicit activity.  Ortega-Ramirez was aware that the minor was under the age of 18 at the time.


Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Ortega-Ramirez remains in the custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Ortega-Ramirez faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, up to a $1,000,000 fine, $200 in special assessments, and at least 5 years of supervised release up to life following any imprisonment. 


The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Duax and Special Assistant United States Attorney Ajay Alexander, and was investigated by the Tri-State Drug Task Force based in Sioux City, Iowa, that consists of law enforcement personnel from the Drug Enforcement Administration; Sioux City, Iowa, Police Department; Homeland Security Investigations; Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office; South Sioux City, Nebraska, Police Department; Nebraska State Patrol; Iowa National Guard; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; United States Marshals Service; South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; and Woodbury County Attorney’s Office. 


Court file information at

The case file numbers are 17-CR-4049 and 17-CR-4066.


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Updated November 6, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Childhood