Oakland Resident, An Illegal Alien, Is Sentenced To 15 Years For Drug Trafficking, Gun Conviction
NOV 18 -- (SAN JOSE, Calif.) – Francisco Torres-Felix was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison, and ordered to pay a $600 fine, for drug, firearm and immigration violations, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.
“This sentence brings to justice an individual who thought he could make a profit through the distribution of illegal drugs in the Northern District of California,” U.S. Attorney Russoniello said. “The federal government takes the crimes Mr. Torres-Felix committed very seriously. My office will continue to work with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to help ensure the individuals who commit these crimes are punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Torres-Felix, 41, of Oakland, Calif., was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 28, 2007. The federal grand jury superseded that indictment on April 15, 2009, charging Torres-Felix with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(ii); possession with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); carrying and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §924(c)(1)(A); two counts of possession of a firearm by an alien, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5)(A); and illegal re-entry following deportation, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1326(a).
Torres-Felix pleaded guilty on May 18, 2009 to all six counts of the indictment. In pleading guilty, he admitted to conspiring to and possessing with intent to distribute 15 kilograms of cocaine and carrying and possessing a .25 caliber Beretta semi-automatic pistol during and in relation to that crime. He also admitted to possessing the Beretta and a second firearm, a .38 super caliber Tanfoglio semi-automatic pistol, while he was an alien in the United States illegally. Torres-Felix further admitted to returning to the United States illegally after having been deported and without the permission of the United States government.
According to court documents, Torres-Felix expected to receive approximately $270,000 from the sale of the cocaine; instead he and his co-conspirator were arrested on Feb 9, 2007, by federal law enforcement agents at the scene of the attempted drug transaction. Torres-Felix remained in federal custody from the time of his arrest through sentencing.
"This lengthy prison sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime. It is through collaborative investigations such as this one that we demonstrate our commitment to keep drugs and guns off our streets," stated DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams. "We will continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local partners in keeping Bay Area communities safer."
“This is a significant sentence and it should serve as a sobering warning for criminals like this defendant whose actions are putting our youth and our communities at risk,” said Mark Wollman, special agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Investigations in San Francisco. “ICE will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to keep dangerous drugs and weapons from reaching our streets.”
“ATF is committed to reducing violent crime in our neighborhoods. Armed drug traffickers are a threat to our communities and our future. We will continue to work with our partners and the United States Attorney to identify, investigate and prosecute those individuals who arm themselves while trafficking drugs”, said ATF’s Special Agent In Charge Stephen C. Herkins. The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Ronald M. Whyte in San Jose. Judge Whyte also sentenced the defendant to a five year period of supervised release, and ordered him to not re-enter the United States without the permission of the United States government. The defendant began serving his sentence immediately.
The sentence is the result of a joint investigation between the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Grant P. Fondo and Thomas Colthurst are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who are prosecuting the case with the assistance of legal assistants Jeanne Carstensen and Tracey Anderson.