U.S. Department of Justice
The following is a news release from the United States Attorney's Office
Interstate 5 Traffic Stop and Drug Seizure Results in Prison Sentences
Santiago Contreras-Esquivel, age 33, and Rafael Rangel-Contreras, age 32, both from Modesto, California, were sentenced to federal prison for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Contreras-Esquivel was also sentenced for illegal reentry into the United States from Mexico. Senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Contreras-Esquivel to 168 months in prison on Tuesday, July 5, 2011 for the drug trafficking and illegal reentry offenses and last April sentenced Rangel-Contreras to 48 months in prison. Contreras-Esquivel pled guilty to both charges on April 4, 2011 and Rangel-Contreras pled guilty on December 13, 2010.
On July 29, 2010, Oregon State Police conducted an Interstate 5 traffic stop on a vehicle outside of Ashland, Oregon. Rangel-Contreras was driving the vehicle and Contreras-Esquivel was a passenger. During the traffic stop, Oregon State Police conducted a search of the vehicle and discovered methamphetamine concealed in the trunk of the vehicle, wrapped in two separate packages. The drugs were wrapped in clear plastic laced with coffee grounds used to mask the odor of the narcotics. Both defendants were arrested and taken into state custody.
Oregon State Police forensic laboratory analysis revealed that there was approximately three pounds of methamphetamine. Their analysis also revealed latent fingerprints on the packaging material of both defendants. Subsequent investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement determined that the methamphetamine was wrapped and packaged by both defendants, as well as others, at a Modesto residence and concealed in the vehicle. The methamphetamine was to be delivered to the Portland area where it was to be distributed.
Both Contreras-Esquivel and Rangel-Contreras remained in custody following their July 2010 arrest. Contreras-Esquivel had previously been convicted of an armed home invasion robbery in California and illegal entry in to the United States and was deported previously.
The case was investigated by the Oregon State Police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield.