News Release
July 08, 2010
Contact: Gordon Taylor
Number: 916-480-7200

Mexican Drug Trafficker Sentenced to More Than
20 Years in Prison

JUL 08 -- SAN FRANCISCO – Cornelio Mata Espinoza was sentenced yesterday to 250 months in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $39,000 to the United States for his role in a large-scale narcotics conspiracy, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

Mata Espinoza was originally charged along with seven other individuals following the Feb. 4, 2009, execution of a series of arrest and search warrants across Northern California resulting from an investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  To date, the OCDETF investigation has resulted in the seizure of six kilograms of methamphetamine, more than one kilogram of heroin, more than $390,000 in cash drug proceeds, and multiple firearms. 

On Sept. 23, 2009, Mata Espinoza pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.  In pleading guilty, he admitted that between November 2006 and January 2009, he worked as a manager of a large-scale narcotics organization with significant ties to Mexico.  In his plea agreement,  Mata Espinoza admitted that between Nov. 28, 2006, and Nov. 28, 2007, he supplied his customers in the Bay Area with more than 1.72 kilograms of heroin.  Mata Espinoza also admitted that he was responsible for 485 grams of methamphetamine and 101.4 grams of heroin found at his home in Richmond, Calif., on Feb. 4, 2009.

The sentence, handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer, also included a five-year period of supervised release.  Mata Espinoza will be deported to Mexico following his sentence.  

Aaron Wegner and Waqar Hasib are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case, with the assistance of Erica Doerr and Jacquelyn Lovrin.  The prosecution is the result an investigation led by ATF and DEA agents.  The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations.