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Woman senteneced to 12 years for Sinaloa Cartel meth smuggling operation

December 14, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Woman senteneced to 12 years for Sinaloa Cartel meth smuggling operation

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A woman associated with the Sinaloa cartel was given a sentence of 12 and a half years in prison for smuggling 21 pounds of meth into California.

On Monday, Federal District Judge Dale S. Fischer sentenced 25-year-old Diana Margarita Ortega Garcia to 151 months behind bars for her role in smuggling 21 pounds of methamphetamine from Tijuana. Ortega used her own vehicle to conceal the drugs and smuggle them to a safe house in the Moreno Valley back in 2015.

The 19-count indictment also charges 21 other defendants with felonies. The indictment capped a probe by the Los Angeles Strike Force that lasted over two years. The Mexican native is one of ten suspects taken into custody. The other nine suspects are set to go to trial in March.

According to a Justice Department press release, a federal jury found Ortega guilty of conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute meth. The trial lasted only three days.

During the two-year wiretap and surveillance probe, Strike Force officers and agents seized over $6 million-worth of drugs. Authorities reported those drugs included 290 pounds of meth, 280 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of heroin, and 81 pounds of marijuana.

Evidence presented at Oretga’s trial showed that she used her vehicle to smuggle the drugs in exchange for $6,000. Just after she delivered the 21 pounds of meth to the safe house, task force officers raided and seized a majority of the load.

Detectives have linked the smuggling operation to the Sinaloa drug cartel. Authorities said the “sophisticated international drug trafficking network” regularly smuggled narcotics from Mexico into stash houses located in the San Gabriel Valley in California. From there, the smugglers would transport the loads to other cities across the U.S.

The Los Angeles Strike Force is comprised of investigators from the FBI, DEA, IRS Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Azusa Police Department.

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