You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 23, 2019

Inmate Sentenced to 20 Years for Distributing Drugs and Cell Phones in State Prison by Bribing an Officer

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – September 23, 2019

SAN DIEGO – Martin Gomez of California was sentenced in federal court today to 240 months in prison for leading a conspiracy to smuggle methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and cell phones through a Corrections Officer into a state prison.

Gomez had previously pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine pursuant to a plea agreement, after being indicted with 10 other co-conspirators.

One co-defendant, Juan Gutierrez, charged in the conspiracy remains awaiting trial, which is scheduled for January 21, 2020.  The trial was continued from May 2019 after Gutierrez struck his own attorney in open court during a status hearing just prior to his trial.

From his cell in a California state prison in Los Angeles, Gomez organized and directed a group of at least 11 other participants to smuggle contraband into a different state prison, Richard J. Donovan (“RJD”), in San Diego.  Gomez arranged for individuals outside of prison to deliver the drugs and cell phones to a Corrections Officer, Anibal Navarro.  He then instructed Navarro to collect the contraband and money, and deliver the contraband to certain inmates inside the prison.  Gomez directed those inmates to retrieve the contraband and deliver it to other inmates within RJD.

Gomez approached Navarro while an inmate at RJD, offering him an avenue to make extra money Gomez knew Navarro needed.  Navarro was paid between $1,000 and $2,000 each time he smuggled the contraband into the prison.  Even after Gomez was transferred out of RJD to another prison, Gomez led the conspiracy for over two years.  Over 500 grams of methamphetamine, heroin, cell phones, and other contraband were smuggled into RJD at Gomez’s direction while he was incarcerated elsewhere.

Gomez was able to continue coordinating and supervising the operation by conducting conference calls with Sylvia Gonzales, Gomez’s associate outside the prison, Navarro, and others.  During these calls, the conspirators arranged for narcotics, cellular telephones and cash to be delivered to Navarro at various locations in Southern California.

In addition to Gonzales, the smuggling operation was also aided by others outside the prison, including Everaldo Santana, Norma Alvarado-Medina and Vanessa Jackson.  These individuals provided Navarro with the narcotics and cellular telephones to smuggle into the prison.

After the contraband was smuggled into the prison, RJD inmates Agustin Aceves, Juan Gutierrez, John Price, Jeremy Gaither and Hugo Alvarado received and distributed the narcotics and cellular telephones to other inmates.  The phones were used to coordinate criminal activity both inside and outside the facility.

“This defendant personally profited from a corrupt drug smuggling scheme that significantly interfered with the rehabilitation of his fellow inmates,” said U.S. Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr.  “He also created a dangerous prison environment by providing cell phones, which can result in drug trafficking, fraud, and even violence.  This sentence signals that justice does not stop at the prison gate; those who engage in prison corruption will face significant consequences.”

With the exception of Gutierrez, Gomez’s codefendants have all pleaded guilty.  They have been sentenced as follows.

Sylvia Gonzales was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Wire fraud, and sentenced to five years’ probation.

Everaldo Santana was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Wire Fraud, and sentenced to time-served, with three years’ supervised release.

Agustin Aceves was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and sentenced to 151 months incarceration, to run 50% concurrent and 50% consecutive to his state case, followed by five years’ supervised release.

Norma Alvarado-Medina was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and sentenced to 41 months, with three years’ supervised release to follow.

John Price was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine and Heroin, and was sentenced to 51 months incarceration, to run 50% concurrent and 50% consecutive with his state case, followed by four years’ supervised release.

Vanessa Jackson was convicted of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, and sentenced to 30 months, to be followed by four years of supervised release.

Hugo Alvarado was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Wire Fraud, and sentenced to 18 months to run concurrent with his state sentence, with three years of supervised release to follow.

Edgar Arreguin was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Honest Services Wire Fraud, and sentenced to time served with three years’ supervised release.

The FBI encourages the public to report allegations of public corruption to our hotline at (877) NO-BRIBE (662-7423).

 

DEFENDANTS                                                     Case No. 17cr0446-AJB                                                  

MARTIN GOMEZ                                         Age 58            Lancaster Prison

SYLVIA GONZALES                                     Age 59            Sylmar, California

EVERALDO SANTANA                                Age 27            Los Angeles, California

AGUSTIN ACEVES                                      Age 45            Lancaster Prison

NORMA ALVARADO-MEDINA                    Age 36            Al Monte, California

JUAN GUTIERREZ                                      Age 44            Vacaville, California

JOHN PRICE                                              Age 23            Salinas Valley Prison

VANESSA JACKSON                                   Age 42            Pasadena, California

JEREMY GAITHER                                      Age 35            Valley State Prison

HUGO ALVARADO                                     Age 27            High Desert Prison

EDGAR ARREGUIN                                     Age 44            Lemon Grove, California

DEFENDANTS                                                     Case No. 16cr1664-AJB                                                  

ANIBAL NAVARRO                                    Age 40             Chula Vista, California

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy to Distribute Illegal Narcotics – Title 21, U.S.C., Sections 841(a) and 846

10-year mandatory minimum

Maximum penalty: Life in prison and $20,000,000 fine

AGENCY

Federal Bureau of Investigation – San Diego Field Office

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Office of Internal Affairs

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Investigative Service Unit

United States Postal Service – Inspector Service

*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Contact: 
Assistant U. S. Attorney Andrew Young (619) 546-7981 Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa Sanniti (619) 546-8811
Press Release Number: 
CAS19-0923-Gomez et al
Updated September 23, 2019