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PORTLAND, Ore. - On March 12, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon sentenced Charly Aguayo-Caro to 12 years in prison for his role in distributing heroin that resulted in the death of Michael Rael. Aguayo-Caro, 24, of Xalisco, Nayarit, Mexico, was responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of an active heroin distribution business operating out of Portland, Oregon. Aguayo-Caro managed the business and accepted telephone orders for heroin from customers. Aguayo-Caro then employed couriers to distribute the heroin throughout the Portland metro-area beginning in 2008 and continuing until 2012.
On September 10, 2012, Michael Rael, 23, of Milwaukie, Oregon, was found deceased from a heroin overdose near his residence. Rael recently moved to Oregon from New Mexico to pursue higher-education and full-time employment. Following Rael's death, Clackamas County Interagency Task Force officers specializing in overdose investigations began re-tracing the heroin ingested by Rael. Investigators were able to trace the heroin to the drug-trafficking organization managed by Aguayo-Caro. On September 18, 2012, investigators arrested Aguayo-Caro in Wilsonville, Oregon where he was returning from California.
At sentencing, Judge Simon acknowledged the "national emergency" communities are facing from heroin overdoses. Simon referenced United States Attorney General Eric Holder's recent public statement about the "urgent and growing public crisis" heroin is having in communities across the country where heroin overdose deaths have increased 45 percent nationally between 2006-2010. U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall echoed Simon and Holder by affirming her commitment to prosecuting drug trafficking organizations that are responsible for saturating the Portland market with heroin that led to the heroin overdose deaths of 147 Oregonians in 2012. Marshall stated: "We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to actively dismantle these drug trafficking organizations that are responsible for the devastating effects of heroin in our communities." This case was prosecuted under the "Len Bias" sentencing enhancement which increases mandatory sentences for individuals and organizations that distribute heroin which ultimately results in an overdose death.
The federal charges stem from an investigation led by state and federal law enforcement agencies including the Clackamas County Inter-Agency Task and the Federal Bureau of Investigation with the assistance of the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office.
The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Steve Mygrant.