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Press Release

Two federal inmates who coordinated Washington drug trafficking from Oklahoma prison sentenced to additional long prison terms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Pair used contraband cell phones to direct drug couriers and arrange large methamphetamine shipments in hidden car compartments

Seattle – Two men who were federal inmates at the Federal Correctional Institute Great Plains in Hinton, Oklahoma, while organizing large methamphetamine shipments and sales, were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to long prison terms, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Alfredo Valdovinos-Diaz, 45, previously of Vancouver, Washington, and Cosme Sanchez-Espino, 41, also previously of Vancouver, were both sentenced to 11 years in prison. Both men were indicted in 2020 and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute controlled substances in July 2023.

In sentencing Valdovinos-Diaz, Chief U.S. District Judge David G. Estudillo said, drug dealing “affects families…. affects communities because of the crime associated with controlled substances, but also the effect on public services such as health care….(Drugs) take a toll on individuals who ingest a bad mixture, and maybe get a dose of fentanyl that is mixed into the methamphetamine, and they just die.”

According to records filed in the case, both men were serving lengthy prison terms for drug trafficking in the Pacific Northwest. Valdovinos-Diaz was serving an eight-year sentence for a 2015 drug trafficking conviction. In that case, Valdovinos-Diaz was responsible for directing a methamphetamine distribution network, with ties to a Mexican drug cartel, that operated out of Vancouver, Olympia, and Tacoma, and was responsible for distributing multi-kilogram quantities of heroin and methamphetamine in western Washington. Valdovinos-Diaz’ drug trafficking activity did not end with his prison term. Using a contraband cell phone, he sent and received various messages in 2019 and 2020 instructing couriers and drug suppliers about packaging large shipments of methamphetamine and how to hide it in secret compartments under the floor of a vehicle or in the vehicle bumper.

Cosme Sanchez-Espino was serving a 15-year prison sentence for a 2008 drug distribution conviction in Montana. In that case, Sanchez-Espino distributed methamphetamine from his supplier in Washington to drug distributors in Montana. Like Valdovinos-Diaz, Sanchez-Espino used contraband cell phones to direct drug trafficking to Southwest Washington. Law enforcement seized loads of 57 pounds and 25 pounds of methamphetamine connected to the men.

In asking for a sentence of eleven years for lead defendant Valdovinos-Diaz, Assistant United States Attorney Max Shiner wrote to the court, Valdovinos-Diaz’ conduct “demonstrates that he is committed to criminal activity and that his “blatant disrespect” requires additional deterrence…. (His) communications demonstrate he knew how the drugs would be packaged, transported, and stored in hidden compartments. This strongly suggests his full knowledge of the weights and quantities of the drugs involved. Second, he was an experienced leader of a drug trafficking ring in the Vancouver area who continued his drug distribution activities in that area after his conviction…”

Both defendants are citizens of Mexico who likely will be deported following their prison terms.

The case was investigated by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Max Shiner.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated November 3, 2023

Drug Trafficking