Three men who planned to use a Gainesville Georgia warehouse to unload their vegetables and marijuana were sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge William C. O’Kelley, announced Sally Quillian Yates, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Marco Ortiz-Barajas, 19, Angel Zamudio-Martinez, 54, Jose Luis Chavez-Morfin, 43, all of whom are from Mexico but resided in the Atlanta metropolitan area, were convicted upon their pleas of guilty on June 29, 2012, to a charge of conspiracy to possess marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Chavez-Morfin was sentenced to five years, 10 months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Zamudio-Martinez was sentenced to four years, two months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Ortiz-Barajas was sentenced to three years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Each defendant will be deported to Mexico at the end of his sentence.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court, during the course of an undercover investigation, Homeland Security Investigations learned that Marco Ortiz-Barajas, Angel Zamudio-Martinez, and Jose Luis Chavez-Morfin were planning to unload a shipment of marijuana at a Gainesville warehouse. As soon as the tractor trailer arrived at the warehouse, law enforcement executed a search warrant. Under the cilantro, peppers, and other green vegetables, law enforcement located and seized 1,572 pounds of marijuana. The approximate street value of the marijuana seized is $3,144,000. Authorities believe the drugs came from Mexico to Kansas to Gainesville to be cut up and distributed.
Three other men also were arrested in April and their cases are being handled in Hall County court: Juventino Morfin-Mendoza, 38, of Duluth; Jose Macias-Sanchez, 45, of Duluth; and Calvin Elwood Gearhart, 47, of Wichita, Kan, the truck driver.
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