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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Illegal Alien To Serve Prison Time For Drug Crimes Before Deportation To Mexico

PITTSBURGH - A native of Mexico, and a part-time visitor to the Los Angeles area of California, pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal charges regarding his cocaine trafficking and laundering of drug money on March 7, 2015, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Gustavo Godinez who goes by the aliases Jorge Navarro Ochoa, Abel Acosta, Sergio Leon- Fregosa, Gustavo Torres, and “Tigre” (Spanish for “Tiger”), pleaded guilty to all of his charges before United States District Judge Mark R. Hornak.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Godinez is a Mexican-born drug dealer who supplied between five and 15 kilograms of cocaine to Pittsburgh area drug dealers between 2012 and 2013. Using his drug proceeds, Godinez obtained expensive vehicles in the names of others and also opened bank accounts in the names of others. The federal investigation revealed that Godinez obtained drug payments from the Pittsburgh cocaine sales in the form of bank deposits, money orders, and wire transfers and that he utilized various associates in multiple states to obtain, deposit, cash, and withdraw the funds, incorrectly believing that his efforts would make it impossible for law enforcement to trace the money back to him. The organization kept the amounts of the money orders below federal reporting obligations for the same reason.

Judge Hornak scheduled sentencing for July 30, 2015, at 10 a.m. and ordered a detailed presentence report to be prepared by the United States Probation Office containing various aspects of the defendant’s life including: his juvenile and adult criminal history; family background; educational landmarks; and any work history. Godinez personally signed a written plea agreement with the government which was provided to the court. If the plea agreement is accepted by Judge Hornak after reviewing the presentence report, the defendant will serve 10 years in federal prison in addition to supervision and a fine to be determined by the Court. Since the defendant was on supervision in California during 2012-13 for a previous conviction involving his attempted sale of methamphetamine, Godinez acknowledged in court that he faces the possibility of additional incarceration in California.

Pending sentencing, the court ordered that Godinez remain incarcerated in the custody of the United States Marshal Service. Court filings indicate that Godinez had been kept in a secure area of a federal facility as a result of alleged threats to government witnesses and his previous attorney.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Ortiz and Ross Lenhardt from the Violent Crime Section of the United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted Godinez on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Hickton praised the collaborative efforts of all of the federal, state and local law enforcement officers who worked together to bring Godinez and his associates to justice. United States Attorney Hickton noted the efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, whose investigation was led by Special Agent Mark Koss of the Pittsburgh District Office, and DEA HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Group 44, whose investigation was led by Los Angeles Police Detective Sal Duarte. U.S. Attorney Hickton specifically noted the valuable efforts of the United States Postal Service, the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigations, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security and numerous other officers and agencies.

Godinez and his drug trafficking organization was prosecuted through a multi-agency federal effort within the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The OCDETF program is intended to focus on prosecuting large scale drug traffickers whose crimes directly affect multiple jurisdictions within the United States.

Updated July 14, 2015