News Release
October 13, 2006

Vancouver Resident Sentenced to
More than 12 Years in Prison for Drug Conspiracy
Mexican National Conspired to Distribute Highly Pure Methamphetamine

SANBINO GARCIA-QUIROZ a/k/a Otoniel Rodriguez-Mercado 29, of Vancouver, Washington was sentenced today to 151 months in prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said the lengthy prison term would protect the public from GARCIA-QUIROZ’s drug trafficking. “Victimizing other families is no way to get out of your own predicament or poverty,” the Judge said. GARCIA-QUIROZ, a Mexican National, has two prior drug convictions and has been deported from the United States twice before. Following his prison term GARCIA-QUIROZ will be deported once more.

GARCIA-QUIROZ was arrested on January 14, 2006 as he and two other co-conspirators returned by car to the Vancouver, Washington area from California. The men had been under investigation as part of “Operation Methopotamia” which focused on methamphetamine dealing in Southwest Washington. Under the back seat of the car GARCIA-QUIROZ was driving, authorities found more than eight pounds of methamphetamine with a purity of 98%. Such highly pure methamphetamine, dubbed “Ice” has been flowing into the northwest up the I-5 corridor from Mexico. Authorities also found $12,000 in cash in the car. When officers searched co-defendant JOSE ANGEL LOPEZ-AGUILAR’s home they found a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun and a digital scale for use in drug distribution.

GARCIA-QUIROZ pleaded guilty on May 24, 2006.

This was an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, providing supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved. The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew H. Thomas and Sarah Y. Vogel.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.