Armed Ring Found Guilty of Meth Distribution and Firearms Charges
JUL 02 -- (PHOENIX) - Jose Luis Pita-Mota, Felix Pita-Mota, Juan Carreno-Guttierrez, and Jesus Rivera-Alvarado, all of Mexico, were found guilty of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine following a six-day jury trial in federal district court in Phoenix. The jury found them guilty on Wednesday of one count of Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine and one Count of Possession of 50 Grams of More of Methamphetamine With Intent to Distribute.
Felix Pita-Mota, Carreno-Guttierrez, and Rivera-Alvarado were also found guilty of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense. The jury also convicted Jesus Rivera-Alvarado and Jose Pita-Mota for being felons in possession of a firearm and convicted Jose Pita-Mota of illegal reentry after deportation. A fifth co-conspirator, Jose Benjamin Hernandez, of Chicago, previously pleaded guilty to the Conspiracy charge.
The evidence presented at trial showed that on August 27, 2009, Jose Pita-Mota and Hernandez negotiated the sale of one pound of methamphetamine. Hernandez, along with Carreno-Guttierrez, Felix Pita-Mota, and Rivera-Alvarado delivered the methamphetamine to a supermarket parking lot near 59 th Avenue and Thomas Road, in Phoenix. Felix Pita-Mota, Carreno-Guttierrez, and Rivera-Alvarado were arrested at the scene and all possessed loaded handguns. Jose Pita-Mota was arrested at his home when agents served a search warrant. The search of Jose Pita-Mota’s home revealed two firearms, approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition, counterfeit money, and a chemical substance used to dilute methamphetamine.
The sentencing of Pita-Motas, Carreno-Guttierrez, and Rivera-Alvarado is set before Judge G. Murray Snow on October 12, 2010. Convictions for Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Methamphetamine and Possession With Intent to Distribute Fifty Grams or More of Methamphetamine, carry a minimum sentence of 10 years to a maximum of life in prison, and up to a $4,000,000 fine, or both. The convictions for Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of Drug Trafficking carry a minimum sentence of five years to a maximum of life in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, or both. The convictions for felon in possession of a firearm provide for a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, or both. The conviction for illegal reentry after deportation provides for a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Snow will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Phoenix Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by James B. Morse Jr. and Tracy Van Buskirk, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
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