News Release
Date: March 20, 2012
Contact: Special Agent Ramona Sanchez
Number: 602 664-5725

Cocaine Courier Sentenced: 15 Years on Drug, Gun Charges

March 20 (Phoenix, AZ) – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman and Ann Birmingham Scheel, Acting U.S. Attorney today announced that on March 19, 2012, Lisa Rajaphone Sayamontry, 47, of Oakhurst, Calif., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg to 15 years in the Bureau of Prisons. Sayamontry was found guilty of Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute Five Kilograms or More of Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Distribute 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Offense by Judge Teilborg following a bench trial held before him on December 13-14, 2011.

DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman said,   “DEA will not relent until our streets are safe and these criminals are behind bars.” Working together, law enforcement in the Phoenix area has dismantled this drug gang and crippled its ability to operate.”

“This sentence demonstrates that those individuals who decide to traffic narcotics and possess firearms while doing so will receive lengthy prison sentences that reflect the seriousness of their crimes,” stated Ann Birmingham Scheel, Acting U.S. Attorney. 

The evidence at trial showed that the DEA conducted a long-term investigation into the Castro-Perez Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO). Sayamontry and her husband, John Gibbons, were hired to serve as drug couriers for a customer of the Castro-Perez DTO. The couple came to Arizona from California, picked up kilogram quantities of cocaine in Phoenix, and delivered it to customers in Atlanta, Ga. On July 21, 2010, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety stopped the couples’ vehicle on I-17 near Black Canyon City. At that time, both defendants were arrested in possession of 15 kilograms of cocaine, valued in Arizona at approximately $18,000.00 per kilogram. Sayamontry possessed a gun while transporting the cocaine.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Tempe Police Department, Mesa Police Department, Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office. 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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