LOS ANGELES – An Orange County man who led police on a high-speed car chase with more than 75 pounds of cocaine stashed in his vehicle was sentenced today to 186 months in federal prison.
Anthony Martinez, 40, of La Habra, was sentenced by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald. Martinez pleaded guilty on January 15 to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Martinez is one of eight defendants charged in an indictment alleging a conspiracy to traffic cocaine throughout Southern California.
On July 25, 2019 in Whittier, Martinez received two boxes from a co-defendant that contained 75.2 pounds (34.1 kilograms) of cocaine, placed the boxes in his car and drove off. When Whittier Police officers attempted to pull Martinez over, he initially pulled over, then sped away, refusing to stop, and led police on a car chase in which Martinez veered into oncoming traffic and drove on the wrong side of the road, the plea agreement states.
“In so doing, [Martinez] recklessly created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to individuals in the community and law enforcement by fleeing from officers,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.
When police finally pulled Martinez over for good in Fullerton, they discovered the box of cocaine.
Martinez also possessed 132.6 pounds (60.2 kilograms) of cocaine, separately wrapped in one kilogram “bricks” located in a storage locker, and 52.9 pounds (23.98 kilograms) of cocaine located inside a duffel bag.
In total, Martinez admitted to possessing 260.6 pounds (118.2 kilograms) of cocaine.
This case’s lead defendant, Jesus Manuel Landeros-Cisneros, 51, of Covina, pleaded guilty in August 2020 to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He is serving a 174-month federal prison sentence for that offense.
Three other defendants in the case – Ryan Alexander Fischer, 23, a.k.a. “Flaco,” of Covina; Manuel Angel Landeros-Lopez, 43, of Covina; David Elgrably, 51, of Suisun City, California – are scheduled to go on trial on July 27. Three defendants – Harnidhan Bhangu, 30; Harmanjot Singh, 29; and Gurpreet Chahal, 41; all Canadian nationals – are fugitives.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations investigated this matter. The investigation was conducted with the support of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). As to these seizures, substantial assistance was provided by the South Gate Police Department, the Brea Police Department, and the West Covina Police Department.
Assistant United States Attorney Kathy Yu of the Violent and Organized Crime Section prosecuted this case.
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