5:29 p.m Friday, Oct. 28, 2016
Three defendants in a recent body cavity heroin smuggling case pleaded guilty Friday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.
Angelica Perez-Martinez, Fernando Villegas-Montoya, and Susana Castro-Beltran all entered guilty pleas to possession with intent to distribute a bulk amount of heroin.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose accepted the pleas and found them guilty of a federal crime that has maximums of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The plea agreements between assistant U.S. attorneys and the defense lawyers indicate the three defendants — plus one who was sentenced last week and another scheduled to plead guilty on Monday — will serve between time served and three years in prison.
Three women and two men overall were charged after the women were alleged to having stuffed heroin into their vaginas and traveled to Dayton from Mexico.
Jose Mercado Herrera pleaded guilty Oct. 20 to interstate travel in aid of a drug enterprise, which carries maximums of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sonia Martinez-Gamboa is scheduled to plead guilty on Monday to the possession with intent to distribute charge on Monday.
All of the sentencings are scheduled for February after pre-sentence reports are filed.
Through an interpreter, Rose explained that the immigration status of some of the defendants could change due to the guilty plea.
Drug Enforcement Agency investigators saw Martinez-Gamboa leave Dayton International Airport on Aug. 4. After her taxi was pulled over for speeding and after a trip to a hospital, Martinez was found to have 625 grams (1.37 pounds) of heroin concealed in her vagina, a criminal complaint said.
That same day, Castro-Beltran and Perez Martinez were accused of hiding a combined two kilos (about 4.4 pounds) in their body cavities. Those two and the two men were arrested after the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force received a tip about their drug activity.
Herrera Mercado and Villegas-Montoya, both of whom drove to Dayton from California, were accused of meeting the women at a local hotel, where they extracted the drugs from their bodies.
Court documents indicate that these cases are related to a man who allegedly swallowed condoms full of heroin and flew from San Diego to Dayton.
A body scan of Shane Michael Anthony allegedly showed he had “dozens” of suspected heroin pellets in his body, according to a report written by a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency special agent.
Anthony has been charged with having more than 100 grams in heroin in his digestive system while flying from San Diego to Dayton. He was checked into Grandview Medical Center for his own safety. On Thursday, Anthony was in “fair” condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Oct. 28, 2016