A Wheaton man was sentenced to 30 years in jail Thursday by a federal judge for his role as a purchaser, supplier and dealer of crack and cocaine, as well as firearms charges, federal court documents state.
One of five men and women charged in the multi-state drug ring, 35-year-old Carlos Jose Trejo Ruiz was found guilty at trial in June of conspiracy to distribute drugs, possession of a firearm in connection with drug trafficking, drug possession with the intent to distribute and aiding and abetting, documents state. Trejo also was ordered by the judge to forfeit any property or assets — including money — that he had gained from illegal drug sales, along with his firearm.
The trial took place at U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
Anthony D. Martin, Trejo’s defense attorney listed in court records, had left the office and was not immediately available for comment Thursday afternoon.
According to evidence presented at his trial, Trejo and co-defendant Nestor Vladimir Sandoval Roca were the principal suppliers to the drug ring, acting as go-betweens to purchase the drugs from a source in Houston and drive back to Maryland in exchange for cash and a cut of the drugs, the documents state.
Investigators uncovered at least 10 trips the pair made to and from Houston transporting drugs in a hidden compartment in Sandoval’s car.
Federal authorities also identified Trejo as a distributor of the drugs, a debt enforcer and arms dealer for Sandoval, at one point selling Sandoval a .556-caliber machine gun with no serial number and ammunition in exchange for cocaine worth $800 to $1,000, court documents indicate.
Sandoval later sold the machine gun and presumably others to individuals along with drugs, including crack cooked by himself and Trejo from their trips to Houston, the documents continue.
Officials linked Trejo and Sandoval to the ring based on conversations overheard between the two in a wiretap, said Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. District Attorney for the District of Maryland.
Sandoval, 36, was arrested Aug. 16, 2010, on his way back from Houston with two kilograms of cocaine in his vehicle, Murphy said. Two kilograms equals about 4.4 pounds. An illegal immigrant living in College Park, Sandoval pleaded guilty to his role in the drug distribution ring and was sentenced to 17 years and six months in prison, she said.
Based on the evidence gathered before his trial, the jury found Trejo guilty of distributing at least 280 grams of crack and at least five kilograms of cocaine in powder form, according to the district attorney’s office.