Career Offender Admits to Possessing a Firearm While Trafficking in Heroin
PORTLAND, Ore. – Marcelino Lopez-Diaz, 25, of Nayarit, Mexico appeared today before U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones and entered guilty pleas to possession with the intent to distribute heroin in quantities of 1 kilogram or more and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The maximum sentence on both charges is life and both carry mandatory minimum sentences of ten and five years respective. The mandatory five years sentence for the firearm charge must run consecutive to the 10 year drug sentence. Lopez-Diaz is scheduled to appear for sentencing on December 11, 2014.
On Novemeber 7, 2012 several members of the Hillsboro Police Department and the Washington County Westside Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN) responded to a residence in Hillsboro, Oregon where Jeremy Mollet was found lying on the floor of a locked bathroom. A spoon and syringe were found nearby. Mollet was transported to Tuality Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner noticed fresh puncture marks on Mollet’s foot which were consistent with injections sites. An autopsy report confirmed that Mollet died from the combined toxic effects of heroin and oxycodone.
Agents were able to quickly examine Mollet’s cellular phone. They observed a number of text messages describing his last heroin purchase. After speaking with Mollet’s girlfriend, agents were able to identify the person who last supplied the heroin that resulted in his death. From there, agents conducted an investigation into the chain of distribution. The investigation produced five coconspirators that ended with Lopez-Diaz.
On November 11, 2012, agents executed a search warrant at Lopez-Diaz’ residence. Lopez-Diaz flushed narcotics down the toilet drain as agents entered the residence. During the execution of the search warrant, agents located and seized over two pounds of heroin, two digital scales, packaging materials, approximately $28,000 in cash, and a Beretta 9mm firearm with 5 rounds of ammunition. Lopez-Diaz admitted having prior convictions for delivering controlled substances and that he was selling heroin in order to send money home to his mother in Mexico.
The investigation of the case was led by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) through its Portland DEA Drug Task Force, and the Washington County Westside Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN), and Oregon State Medical Examiner.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kemp Strickland.