Charged for Distributing Heroin That
Led to Death of
May 4, 2012– (Salem, OR) – Matthew G. Barnes, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the Seattle Field Division, announced today the federal indictment of Sergio Quezada Lopez, 33, Braulio Acosta Mendoza, 34, Jose Romo Gonzalez, 22, Jose Aldan Soto, 30, and Julian Hernandez Castillo, 31, for conspiracy that resulted in the death of Laurin Putnam. All five defendants are citizens of Mexico and are currently the subjects of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainers on their custody status. An affidavit in support of the arrest warrant for Sergio Quezada Lopez has been publicly filed in the U. S. District Court of Oregon.
Laurin Putnam, 21, was found dead at her residence in Keizer, Oregon on April 16, 2012, from an apparent heroin overdose. In the 96 hours following her death, investigators made numerous arrests and conducted searches in Washington County, Multnomah County, Marion County, and Vancouver, Washington seizing over four pounds of heroin, additional quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine, two guns, and over $20,000. This multi-state investigation is ongoing.
“We will not allow traffickers to remain anonymous as they indiscriminately sell their poison without fear of reprisal,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Matthew G. Barnes. “Those responsible for Laurin Putnam’s overdose are distributors of death and despair, from the source and his runners, to his wholesalers and retail level street dealers. This is an exceptional case wherein we were able to follow the heroin supply chain from the victim’s arm to the doorstep of an out of state source of supply whom she had never even met. DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue our efforts to combat drug trafficking at every level.”
Together with other counts in the indictment related to distribution of heroin in Oregon and Washington, Count 1 charges the five defendants with a conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death. For any defendant convicted of a conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in death, who has a prior felony drug conviction, the statutory mandatory minimum prison term is life with no possibility of release, and up to a $20,000,000 fine. For any defendant convicted of the same crime with no prior felony drug conviction, the mandatory minimum prison term is twenty years and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
The federal charges stem from an investigation led by the DEA through its Salem DEA Drug Task Force, and the Keizer Police Department with assistance from the Salem Police Department; the Marion County Sheriff’s Office; the Oregon State Police; the Washington County Interagency Narcotics Team (WIN); the Portland Police Bureau; the Oregon State Medical Examiner; the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force; the Oregon Department of Justice; and, the Portland based Highway Interdiction Team.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant should be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Arraignment of Sergio Quezada Lopez is set for Friday, May 4, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. before Magistrate Judge John Acosta. The federal arraignments of the remaining defendants are likely to be scheduled in the near future.