A woman connected to the Sinaloa drug cartel received a sentence of 12 and a half years for smuggling 21 pounds of pure methamphetamine into California.
Federal District Judge Dale S. Fischer sentenced Diana Margarita Ortega Garcia, 25, to 151 months in prison on Monday for her role in transporting 21 pounds of methamphetamine from her hometown in Tijuana into the U.S. Officials with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas that Ortega used her own vehicle to hide the drugs and smuggle them to a safe house in the Moreno Valley on February 1, 2015.
The 19-count indictment that charged Ortega brought felony counts against 21 other defendants. The indictment capped an investigation by the Los Angeles Strike Force that lasted more than two years, officials stated. The Mexican national is one of ten suspects taken into custody. The other nine arrested suspects are scheduled to stand trial in March.
A federal jury convicted Ortega on a single count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The trial lasted three days.
During the course of the two-year wiretap and surveillance investigation, Strike Force officers and agents seized more than $6 million-worth of drugs. Officials reported those drugs include 290 pounds of methamphetamine, 280 pounds of cocaine, 30 pounds of heroin, and 81 pounds of marijuana.
In Ortega’s case, evidence presented in the trial revealed she used her personal vehicle to smuggle in exchange for $6,000. Shortly after she delivered the 21 pounds of methamphetamine to the safe house, task force officers raided and seized most of the load.
Investigators tied the smuggling operation to the Sinaloa drug cartel. Officials said the “sophisticated international drug trafficking network” regularly transported narcotics from Mexico into stash houses located in the San Gabriel Valley in southern California. From there, the smugglers would move to other cities across the country.
The Los Angeles Strike Force is made up of investigators from the FBI, DEA, IRS Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Azusa Police Department.