CORPUS CHRISTI-–A Corpus Christi man was sentenced by a federal judge Thursday to about 24 years in federal prison for his role in methamphetamine case
A jury found Jose Antonio Ortiz Jr. was responsible for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 963.6 grams of methamphetamine.
Senior United States District Judge Hayden Head sentenced Ortiz to 292 months imprisonment to be followed by a 10-year-term of supervised release and $5,000 fine.
Ortiz, 32, was charged last year with Juan Luis Chavez along with defendants Jason Wilson, Tracy Chaffin, John Gomez and Veronica Munguia in the drug case.
All with the exception of Ortiz pled guilty and testified againt the Corpus Christi man, stating he was in charge of this operation.
Mungia, Chavez, Chaffin and Chavez plead guilty. Mungia and Chavez are awaiting sentencing in the case. Wilson and Gomez were previously sentenced to 98 and 40 months in prison.
Evidence at trial demonstrated that in March 2010, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) agents received information that a shipment of methamphetamine would be arriving in Corpus Christi and that the drugs were destined for delivery to Gomez and Ortiz.
DPS agents and officers of the Corpus Christi Police Department (CCPD) conducted a search of a residence known to be utilized by Gomez and Munguia on March 10, 2010, and found a large amount of methamphetamine and smaller amounts of cocaine and marijuana.
Both Chavez and Ortiz were present during the search of this residence and were arrested for state drug violations. Shortly thereafter, DPS contacted the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Prior to the March 10 arrest, DEA agents had uncovered a methamphetamine distribution network operated by Wilson and whose source of supply for the drugs was Ortiz.
Agents had seized 112.2 grams of methamphetamine in an undercover operation involving Ortiz, Chavez, Wilson and Chaffin on Feb. 24, 2010.
The jury heard that Ortiz solicited Chavez to transport illegal drugs from Weslaco in the Rio Grande Valley to Corpus Christi for $1500, on at least one occasion.
Ortiz was the individual who directed Chavez in all aspects of this particular transportation and it was Ortiz who formulated the plan to outfit Chavez’s van with a hidden compartment.
At the trial, all five co-defendants and another cooperating individual testified that Ortiz was a leader of this methamphetamine conspiracy. They also introduced telephone records, which confirmed that Wilson and Ortiz were in contact with each other during the period of this conspiracy from February 2010 to July 2010.