Life Sentence Imposed on Elkhart Man for
Methamphetamine and Cocaine Distribution
APR 5 --–(South Bend) On April 1, 2010 Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr., United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Indiana, imposed a life sentence on defendant Gabriel V. Mendoza, for his role in the distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine.
A jury had convicted Mendoza, age 44, of Elkhart, Indiana, in October 2009 after a six (6) day trial. Evidence at trial established that Mendoza headed up a large scale drug organization in Indiana that distributed pounds of methamphetamine and kilograms of cocaine from 2003 - 2005. Law enforcement had executed a search warrant on the defendant’s Elkhart residence on November 17, 2005 and seized a pound of methamphetamine and several weapons. The defendant, who was not home at the time, fled the area and was not apprehended until September 2008. During a traffic stop in the State of Washington, Mendoza was arrested on the federal charges. He has been in federal custody since that arrest.
“After several years on the run, Gabriel Mendoza was convicted and sentenced to prison for his actions that attempted to erode our communities with illicit drugs,” stated Stephen A. Luzinski, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Chicago Field Division, which covers the state of Indiana. “DEA and our resilient law enforcement partners will continue to investigate and prepare for the prosecution of major violators of controlled substance laws.”
United States Attorney David Capp praised the efforts of the federal law enforcement agents and the local law enforcement task force officers who conducted this investigation. “This prosecution and conviction exemplifies the results that can be achieved when local and federal law enforcement officials work together.”
The case was investigated jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration, South Bend Police Department, St. Joseph County Police Department, Elkhart City Police Department, and the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys William T. Grimmer and Frank Schaffer.