Two men sentenced in drug cases

By Observer Upload May 01, 2013 12:11 pm

Court hands out 22 months, 68 months in separate drug-related cases 

by Kelly Ducote/The Observer

Two men will be spending time behind bars after being sentenced in separate drug-related cases in Union County.

Jorge Garcia was sentenced to 22 months in state prison on April 11, and Daniel Martinez was sentenced to 68 months on Monday, according to court documents.

Garcia’s case dates back to 2010 when he pled guilty to a burglary charge in La Grande.

“Since we knew he was here illegally and likely to get deported by the feds, his lawyer and I agreed to put him on probation instead of in prison up front and devoting years of state resources to his custody,” said Deputy District Attorney Jared Boyd.

Garcia was given three years of probation, with the stipulation that he was not to re-enter Oregon unlawfully. He was transferred into federal custody, prosecuted for illegal entry into the country and deported back to Mexico.

On March 4, Union County sheriff deputies made a controlled buy for morphine pills. A man originally booked under the name Roberto Hernandez Cano delivered more than 29 morphine pills, according to the county booking record.

After his booking, police realized that the man was actually Garcia — who was in violation of his probation. Giving false information to a police officer was added to charges of delivery of morphine and possession of marijuana.

During Garcia’s probation violation hearing, he admitted he had been in Oregon illegally since April 2012, Boyd said. 

“I’ve never seen a case like this before,” Boyd said. “We have made a few other arrangements like this case where we have coordinated with the federal government and (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to arrange deportation in lieu of taking up a state prison bed, but have never seen someone return and violate their probation in such a serious way.”

Upon his release from the state, Garcia will be transferred again to federal authorities to be prosecuted for illegal entry.

Martinez was found guilty on Oct. 12, 2012, of unlawful delivery of methamphetamine, according to court records. He had in his possession at the time of arrest 39.71 grams of methamphetamine divided into three baggies. He also had just under an ounce of marijuana in two baggies. Police found extra empty baggies and scales that tested positive for methamphetamine residue, suggesting that Martinez had an intent to sell, Boyd said.

Under Oregon law, 10 grams of methamphetamine is considered a “substantial quality” and subject to a higher penalty.

“Obviously, he had approximately four times that amount. That is a large amount, but not unheard of,” Boyd said.

The estimated street value of the drugs was $4,000.