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Local Man Gets 10 Years for Synthetic Narcotics Trafficking

DEC 07 (CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) - A 28-year-old resident of Corpus Christi had been ordered to federal prison following his convictions of possessing with the intent to distribute a synthetic cannabinoid and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Abel Martinez pleaded guilty Sept. 15, 2015.

Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Haden Head sentenced Martinez to 120 months for the synthetic narcotics conviction and 120 months for the firearms charge. The sentences will be served concurrently and will be followed by four  years of supervised release. The court also ordered a fine in the amount of $6,500. At the hearing, additional testimony was presented by expert witnesses from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) including how the DEA handles newly emerging synthetic narcotics, the adverse effects of those substance, and imminent hazard they present to the public safety. In handing down the sentence on the synthetic narcotics count, the court acknowledged the significant danger of synthetic narcotics, specifically the packaging claiming to be "legal" and the appeal to children with flavors such as "bubble gum.”

Martinez was arrested June 3, 2015. At the time of his arrest, law enforcement officers seized an SKS assault rifle, two loaded handguns, a stolen ballistic vest and approximately 700 packets of synthetic narcotics (aka “K2” or “Spice”). Laboratory analysis confirmed the presence of an emergency scheduled substance, AB-CHMINACA and 5F-AMB, controlled under the Controlled Substance Analog Act.

In federal custody since his arrest, Martinez will remain there pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future.

The investigation was part of Operation Rusty Hook, a coordinated effort by federal, state and local law enforcement to identify violent offenders, stop gun violence and protect the community. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Marshals Service, Corpus Christi Police Department Gang Unit and the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt is prosecuting the case.

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