US Department of Justice
Public Information Officer
The following is a US Department of Justice News Release
Jose Luis Valladares (a.k.a. Ricardo Ochoa Renteria), age 32, from Salem, Oregon was sentenced Friday by U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman to 156 months in prison and a $1 million money judgment, for his role as the leader of an international drug-trafficking organization (DTO).
During the fall of 2008, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) started to investigate a Mexican National DTO operating in Salem. Agents determined the conspiracy was responsible for smuggling MDMA (ecstasy) and psuedoephedrine, the key ingredient for manufacturing methamphetamine, south from Canada and transporting significant quantities of cocaine and pure methamphetamine north from California and Mexico. This represents a relatively new trend in which members of Mexican National DTOs establish themselves in Canada, set up networks designed to amass large quantities of pseudoephedrine, and then smuggle it south to California and Mexico where it is manufactured into methamphetamine.
"This conviction is the result of the DEA's diligent investigation and cooperation with local law enforcement," said U.S. Attorney Dwight C. Holton. "We commend the lead task force officers for their relentless work in bringing this defendant to justice and dismantling this criminal organization."
The Oregon State Police (OSP) assisted this DEA investigation by making three traffic stops leading to significant seizures of narcotics. First, in November 2008, OSP stopped a vehicle coming from the Canadian border as it drove south through Oregon, and located over 143 pounds of MDMA (ecstasy) and over 9,000 tablets of pseudoephedrine inside of several hiddent trap compartments. Second, in May 2009, OSP stopped another car driving south from Canada through Oregon and agents seized 34 pounds of pseudoephedrine. Third, in November 2009, OSP made a stop of a load car headed north from Los Angeles, California, and discovered approximately 10 pounds of 100% pure methamphetamine.
Sixteen fugitives were indicted in February 2010 as members of this conspiracy, four of whom remain in fugitive status. All twelve of the remaining defendants have pled guilty. Valladares is an illegal alien who will be deported before serving his sentence.
This case was brought as an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (ODCETF) case with funding for the Oregon High Density Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Programs. The Oregon HIDTA Program is an Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) sponsored counterdrug grant program that coordinates and provides funding resources to multi-agency drug enforcement task forces to disrupt or dismantle local, multi-state, and international drug trafficking organizations.
This case was investigated by the DEA, the Oregon State Police, Salem Police Department, Keizer Police Department, and the Marion County Sheriff's Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Leah K. Bolstad and John C. Laing.