Two Members of a Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to Federal Prison and Ordered to Forfeit $2 Million

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III today sentenced Rogelio Zamora, age 24, to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.  On August 8, 2022, Judge Russell sentenced co-defendant Hugo Maldonado Ortiz, age 53, to five years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release on the same charge.  Judge Russell further ordered that Zamora and Ortiz must forfeit $2 million seized during the course of the investigation, as proceeds of drug trafficking.

The sentences were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Jarod Forget of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington Divison; Colonel Kevin M. Anderson, Chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police; Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; Chief Robert J. Contee III of the Metropolitan Police Department; Colonel Melissa Zebley, Superintendent of the Delaware State Police; and Colonel Robert Evanchick, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police.

According to their guilty pleas, between April 2020 and October 26, 2020, Zamora and Ortiz were part of a conspiracy to distribute drugs, specifically to possess with intent to distribute those drugs in Baltimore and elsewhere.  As their part of the conspiracy, Zamora and Ortiz obtained cash, packaged it, and delivered the currency to couriers for transportation.  Zamora and Ortiz admitted that they knew, or should have known, that the cash they transferred to and from members of the conspiracy was the proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs in Baltimore and elsewhere.  The defendants and their co-conspirators traveled to locations in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and elsewhere to receive large amounts of bulk currency, believed to be narcotics proceeds, and then transported or arranged the transport of the bulk cash to California on behalf of their drug trafficking organization.

During the investigation a total of more than $2 million was seized by or delivered to law enforcement.  Investigators know that this amount of drug proceeds represents revenue from the sale of approximately seventy-five kilograms of cocaine.  Accordingly, Zamora agreed that it was foreseeable to him that the conspirators would distribute between five and 15 kilograms of cocaine.  Ortiz agreed that it was foreseeable to him that the conspirators would distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  PSN, an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

This case is also part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.  OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.    

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the DEA, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, the Maryland State Police, the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Metropolitan Police Department, the Delaware State Police and the Pennsylvania State Police for their work in the investigation and thanked the DEA in New York, New Jersey and Detroit for their assistance.  Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Joan C. Mathias, who prosecuted the case.

For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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