Three Strikes Drug Dealer Sentenced To Mandatory Life Imprisonment
In El Paso this morning, United States District Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced 46-year-old habitual drug trafficker Benito Martinez, Jr., (a.k.a. “Benny”) to three concurrent life imprisonment terms on federal drug trafficking charges announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent In Charge Joseph Arabit.
In October, a federal jury convicted Martinez of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and two counts of aiding and abetting the possession with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Evidence presented at trial revealed that Martinez had well-established relationships with individuals in the Republic of Mexico with direct ties to a Mexico-based drug cartel operating in and around Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, and was responsible for large amounts of cocaine transported from Juarez through El Paso and on to Connecticut, New York and Chicago.
At sentencing, Judge Cardone considered Martinez’s criminal history which included a five-year federal prison term beginning in 1992 for marijuana importation and a nearly 11-year federal prison term for conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute in 2002. According to court records, Martinez continued his drug trafficking efforts even prior to the expiration of his terms of supervised release following each prison term. Judge Cardone also ordered that Martinez pay a monetary judgment in the amount of $112,000, representing the value of a property in El Paso that Martinez used in furtherance of his drug trafficking crimes.
This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation was conducted by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration along with assistance from other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in El Paso, New York, Chicago and Connecticut.