Arizona Drug Cocaine Trafficker Convicted
PHOENIX, AZ – Santos Alberto Pulido, 38, of Tonopah, Arizona was found guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine by a federal jury in Phoenix. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake from February 7-8, 2012. The defendant remains in custody pending sentencing, which is set before Judge Wake on May 14, 2012.
“This verdict closes the door on a significant drug transporter that used Phoenix as a transshipment point for his drug trafficking operations,” said Doug Coleman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration-Phoenix Division. “DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to work closely to identify and target destructive drug trafficking organizations that plague our communities with dangerous drugs.”
“This jury verdict shows that strong efforts are being made in Arizona to stop criminals from using our highways to traffic illegal drugs and to stem the flow of narcotics through our state,” stated Ann Birmingham Scheel, Acting U.S. Attorney.
The evidence at trial showed that Pulido used his trucking business, Yosemity Transportation, to obtain legitimate loads to cover his transportation of narcotics. The evidence also showed that on March 21, 2011, Pulido picked up a load of 20 kilograms of cocaine from coconspirators in Calif. and then returned to Ariz., with plans to deliver the cocaine to the East Coast later that month. Ten days later, officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety Commercial Vehicle Interdiction Squad contacted Pulido near 22nd Ave. and Happy Valley Rd. in Phoenix. At that time, officers located a sophisticated hidden compartment in the truck cab that Pulido leased and operated. Inside the secret trap, officers found 20 wrapped packages, which contained just over 20 kilograms of cocaine valued at approximately $20,000 per kilogram.
Convictions for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a $10,000,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Wake 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 Drug Enforcement Administration and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The prosecution was handled by Jonell L. Lucca and William H. Bryan III, Assistant United States Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.
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