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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, May 28, 2021

California Man Sentenced to 90 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Distribute over 30 Pounds of Crystal Methamphetamine and Five Kilos of Fentanyl into New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. – A California man was sentenced today to 90 months in prison for shipping approximately 30 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and conspiring to send an additional five kilograms of fentanyl into New Jersey, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Isabel Otanez-Sanchez, 27, of San Jacinto, California, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel Hillman to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and a quantity of fentanyl. Judge Hillman imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In September 2018, law enforcement officers received information that an individual known as “Pancho,” later identified as Otanez-Sanchez, was shipping large quantities of narcotics to New Jersey from California. On Jan. 28, 2019, Otanez-Sanchez agreed to send 30 pounds of methamphetamine to a law enforcement confidential source (the “CS”) in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Otanez-Sanchez and conspirator Jesus Zavala-Torres hid 28 packages of methamphetamine inside a salvaged vehicle that was shipped to New Jersey from California. Agents recovered the 28 packages, totaling approximately 30 pounds, from the car’s gas tank. On Feb. 12, 2019, the CS met with Otanez-Sanchez and Zavala-Torres in Riverside, California. Otanez-Sanchez and Zavala-Torres also agreed to sell an additional five kilograms of fentanyl that would be shipped to the CS in New Jersey in the same manner as the methamphetamine.  Following this meeting, Otanez-Sanchez and Zavala-Torres were arrested by law enforcement and the five kilograms of fentanyl they intended to ship to New Jersey were recovered.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hillman sentenced Otanez-Sanchez to five years of supervised release. Zavala-Torres is scheduled to be sentenced June 2, 2021.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Cherry Hill, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges and today’s sentencing. She also thanked HSI in Riverside, California; the New Jersey State Police; the Hemet, California, Police Department; and the Atlantic City Task Force for their assistance.

The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Meriah Russell of the U.S. Attorney's Office Criminal Division in Camden.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-242
Updated May 28, 2021