Odessa Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Drug Distribution Conspiracy 10/9/12
U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Texas
October 9, 2012
In Midland, 39-year-old Jesus Astorga Samaniego was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison for his leadership role in a drug distribution conspiracy operating in the Odessa area, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman. During sentencing last Thursday, United States District Judge Robert A. Junell also ordered that Samaniego be placed under supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term.
On December 16, 2011, Jesus Samaniego, a citizen of Mexico with Resident Alien status in the United States, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. By pleading guilty, Samaniego admitted that he and others were responsible for the trafficking of at least five kilograms of cocaine in the Odessa area between September 2010 and September 2011. At sentencing, however, Judge Junell found that Samaniego was responsible for more than 50 kilograms of cocaine. In addition to Samaniego’s prison term, Judge Junell ordered that the Samaniego forfeit $17,732 in U.S. currency that was seized on the day of his arrest, as well as a 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch pickup.
In October 2011, after a one-year-long investigation by a federal drug task force, a federal grand jury returned indictments on ten individuals charged with cocaine trafficking. Samaniego was the last of nine convicted defendants to be sentenced in connection with this investigation. The other defendants in the case received prison sentences ranging from 37 to 121 months. In addition to the prison terms, the defendants were ordered to forfeit various real and personal property that was seized as part of the investigation, including a residence in Pecos, Texas and $178,890 in U.S. currency. Arlina Gabaldon Castor remains a fugitive in Mexico.
This investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ector County Sheriff’s Office, Midland Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Austin M. Berry is prosecuting this case on behalf of the United States.