Two men were sentenced to life in prison plus three years today for their role in a major 2012 cocaine bust that led to the federal arrests of 10 people and seven of the 10 pounds of cocaine have already been seized.
Armando Vega of Sudbury, Ont., and Antonio Espinosa Jr. of Toronto, Ont., were sentenced to life plus three years by Ontario Superior Court Justice Pamela Heilmans. They both pleaded guilty to possession for the purpose of trafficking.
The largest cocaine bust in Ontario history led to the federal arrest of 10 people and seven of the nine kilos of cocaine have already been seized. They had been importing cocaine from Jalisco, Mexico into Ontario since 2009, primarily through New York State, according to court documents.
The agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began tracking three men who were headed to La Caridad, Mexico, for several meetings in a house in Newburgh, New York, on Jan. 30, 2012. The agents arrested them on the fly.
Special Agent Paul Dezzi described the house during the sentencing hearing as “a large open space with kind of a lean-to.”
Seville Restaurant, 117 South Ave, Bergenline, NJ, as been linked to the Sinaloa cartel. Courtesy Seville Restaurant, 117 South Ave, Bergenline, NJ, as been linked to the Sinaloa cartel. Courtesy (Seville Restaurant, 117 South Ave, Bergenline, NJ, pictured left, and Seville’s Facebook page. Courtesy Facebook
The DEA found 38 pounds of cocaine in the room where Vega and Espinosa were staying.
From there, they found a van, pickups, and a Mexican passport on Vega.
“Espinosa then made a call and both men were on the phone,” Dezzi said.
During surveillance of Vega and Espinosa the agents were able to obtain information on a third man, identified as Gustavo Guzman, who was driving a Chevy Malibu, with an Ontario plate, that was traveling in the same direction as Vega and Espinosa.
DEA investigators were also able to locate a vehicle registered to Gustavo Guzman, which had an Ontario plate. They followed and arrested him Feb. 13, 2012.
DEA was able to record surveillance on Vega and Espinosa traveling in the same direction as Guzman. On Feb. 9, they followed Vega and Espinosa and caught them at the airport as they got into a car. The car appeared to be going into his room.
During a subsequent search of the room, agents found $22,000 in cash. They also found four guns and 480 rounds of ammunition.
In all, the weight of the cocaine seized was 8,824 grams.
Guzman is awaiting sentencing, in which his charges could involve an additional 30 years in prison.
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