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Thursday, December 5, 2013 - 7:53pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — A man was sentenced to three concurrent life imprisonment terms Thursday morning on federal drug trafficking charges.
United States District Judge Kathleen Cardone sentenced 46-year-old Benito Martinez, Jr. (a.k.a. "Benny") to the three concurrent sentences after a federal jury convicted Martinez in October of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and two counts of aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine.
Evidence presented at the October trial indicated that Martinez had well-established relationships with people in Mexico with direct ties to a Mexico-based drug cartel operation near Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Court records show that Martinez was responsible for large amounts of cocaine being transported from Juarez through El Paso and on to Connecticut, New York and Chicago.
Martinez had a lengthy criminal history which included a five-year federal prison term beginning in 1992 for marijuana transportation and a nearly 11-year federal prison sentence in 2002 for conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Judge Cardone considered Martinez' continued involvement with drug trafficking even prior to the expiration of his terms of supervised release following each prison term.
Martinez was also ordered to pay a monetary judgment in the amount of $112,000, representing the value of a property in El Paso that Martinez used in furtherance of his drug trafficking crimes.
The Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation was conducted by agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration along with assistance from other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in El Paso, New York, Chicago and Connecticut.