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News Release
March 10, 2005

Cocaine Trafficker Sentenced to
32 Years in Federal Prison

Court Found Various Offenses Involved 60 Kilograms of Cocaine

Seized drugs and weaponDrug Enforcement Administration San Francisco Field Division Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Pena announced that Lucio Sanchez-Beltran was sentenced yesterday to 32 years in prison for various cocaine trafficking offenses and unlawfully carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

On March 24, 2003, the Sanchez Beltran pleaded guilty to eight counts in a second superseding indictment. There was no plea agreement filed in the case.

Mr. Sanchez-Beltran, 33, of Salinas, was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on July 13, 1999. The grand jury returned superseding indictments on October 31, 2001 and July 24, 2002. He was charged with three different cocaine trafficking conspiracies, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, unlawfully carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and willful failure to appear before a court.

“The severe sentence demonstrates that drug traffickers are a serious threat to our communities and that drug trafficking will not be tolerated,” said SAC Javier F. Pena. “This case could not have been successfully investigated and prosecuted without the assistance of our local and state counterparts.”

“This sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime. Drug traffickers pose an on-going and significant danger to our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Kevin V. Ryan. “This case exemplifies the commitment and determination of this office and our partners in law enforcement to ensure that drug traffickers are held accountable, even when they have fled from justice.”

Cocaine hidden under a night standOn October 5, 1998, Mr. Sanchez-Beltran was arrested following a traffic stop near Morgan Hill, California, with a loaded .40 caliber firearm and $260,000 cash with which he intended to purchase 20 kilograms of cocaine. On August 10, 1999, he was released from custody by a United States Magistrate Judge following the posting of $10,000 cash bail, but absconded from his further court appearances. He remained a fugitive for over two years until he was re-arrested by DEA agents on September 17, 2001, in Salinas, California. Following his arrest, agents seized three kilograms of cocaine from the vehicle he was driving and 17 more kilograms of cocaine from his nearby apartment in Salinas. Mr. Sanchez-Beltran also pleaded guilty to participation in a conspiracy that resulted in the arrest of his sister, Beatriz Sanchez-Meza and girlfriend Candelaria Lopez on January 23, 2001, while they were attempting to drive 10 kilograms of cocaine from Los Angeles to Salinas at the direction of Sanchez-Beltran. On the previous day, Sanchez-Meza and Lopez had picked up a previous load of 10 kilograms of cocaine and delivered it to Sanchez-Beltran in Salinas. The court found that Sanchez-Beltran had pressured and coerced his sister into participating in the picking up and attempted delivery of the cocaine. Sanchez-Meza and Lopez were subsequently convicted of federal cocaine trafficking charges in the Central District of California in Los Angeles.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose following a guilty plea to all eight counts charged in the second superseding indictment. Judge Fogel sentenced the defendant to 32 years in federal prison as well as a 5 year period of supervised release. The defendant has been in continuous federal custody since September 17, 2001, and will receive corresponding credit for time served toward the service of his sentence.

The court specifically found that the various offenses involved 60 kilograms of cocaine; that the defendant obstructed justice by absconding from his court appearances during 1999, remaining a fugitive for over two years; and that the defendant was a manager or supervisor of criminal activity that involved at least five participants.

The DEA wishes to thank the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, the Monterrey County Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, the United States Attorney’s Office, and Assistant United States Attorney John N. Glang, who prosecuted the case.

Related court documents and information may be found on the U.S. District Court website at http://www.cand.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/, http://pacer.cand.uscourts/gov.

All press inquiries to the DEA should be directed to S/A Casey McEnry at (415) 436-7994 or S/A Richard Meyer.

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