You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Oregon

Monday, April 8, 2013

Defendant Convicted of Heroin Trafficking & Illegal Re Entry Sentenced to 17.5 Years in Federal Prison

PORTLAND, Ore. – Jose Lizarraras-Chacon, 38, of Nayarit, Mexico, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez to 210 months (17.5 years) in prison for heroin-trafficking and illegal reentry. During the fall of 2011, the Portland Police Bureau received information regarding a husband and wife team selling large quantities of heroin. Defendant and his wife, Maria Gonzalez-Torres. (co-defendant) fielded phone call orders from customers for heroin, and then would make deliveries throughout the Portland metro area, often accompanied by their children. Earlier in 2011, the St. Helens Police Department investigated this same husband-wife team, and that evidence was charged in the federal indictment as part of the yearlong conspiracy to distribute heroin.

On November 29, 2011, officers with the Portland Police Bureau’s Drugs and Vice Division (DVD) arranged for a controlled purchase of heroin from this duo. Co-defendant Gonzalez-Torres answered the call, made the deal, and indicated they would be on their way to deliver shortly. Surveillance officers observed defendant leave their apartment carrying a baby in a car seat and enter one of the family vehicles. Gonzalez-Torres followed her husband into their vehicle, along with two other children (ages 7 and 4). Officers stopped the car as it was traveling towards the agreed-upon delivery location.

During the traffic stop, a female officer conducted a pat-down search of Gonzalez-Torres and located approximately five ounces of heroin concealed in her bra. There was also over $300 in the diaper bag. Officers conducted a search of the family’s apartment on East Burnside at 179th, and seized over $84,000 in U.S. currency stashed all over the residence. Agents also seized approximately 470 grams of heroin hidden within a diaper genie and a .45 caliber semi-automatic firearm in a hall closet. Gonzalez-Torres admitted that she had been involved in her husband’s heroin business and had not held legitimate employment for four years. She explained that she received $1100 per month in public benefits. When asked about all the cash in her apartment, she said that she and her husband were saving money to build a home in Mexico.

In 2010, defendant was convicted of unlawful delivery of heroin in Clackamas County, after which he was deported to Mexico. He returned to the United States illegally, and continued to distribute heroin. This case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau, the St. Helen’s Police Department, the DEA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Leah K. Bolstad.

Updated January 29, 2015