Two cousins from Medford, Ore., were sentenced to federal prison on Monday for leading a heroin trafficking organization in the Rogue Valley. Earlier this year, both plead guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.
A federal investigation determined Ismael Anaya, 28, as the organization's leader. In addition, federal court-authorized wiretaps collected evidence of the conspiracy to distribute heroin and numerous drug-related discussions between Anaya, his cousin Eliot Delavirgen, 33, and their various distributors. Delavirgen also plead guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner sentenced Anaya to 260 months in federal prison and Delavirgen to 160 months. He also ordered the forfeiture of two vehicles, jewelry, and over $840,000.
Anaya had been involved in selling heroin to local distributors since 2008 and was joined by Delavirgen in June 2009. Five other mid-level heroin distributors were also sentenced to federal prison earlier this year and were all convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.
It was estimated that Anaya distributed 25 to 50 pounds of heroin in the Rogue Valley, while Delavirgen delivered Anaya with $30,000 to $35,000 every two weeks from heroin sales, according to the FBI. Anaya directed the activities of distributors, made arrangements to purchase additional heroin, and handled the financial aspects of collecting money and paying the supplier. Anaya also arranged for the heroin to be delivered to the area and was involved in the organization's daily operation.
"Heroin is killing dozens of Oregonians every year—we've got to put a stop to it," according to Dwight Holton, U.S. attorney. "Large scale prosecutions like this that destroy drug organizations root and branch are key."
Statistics by the Oregon State Medical Examiner showed that heroin-related deaths in Oregon are the highest they have been in the last 10 years. After Anaya's drug trafficking organization established itself in the Medford community, heroin-related arrests and overdoses steadily increased, according to the FBI.
Jerrett Michael Hooey, 22, of Talent, Oregon, was also sentenced Monday by Judge Panner to 100 months in federal prison for his role as one of the organization's mid-level heroin distributors. Hooey pled guilty in April to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.
In October 2009, agents executing a search warrant on Hooey's residence caught him flushing items down a toilet in the master bedroom and seized heroin, scales, drug packaging material, and $1,000 from his bedroom. Agents also executed another federal search warrant on his safety deposit box and seized an additional $6,100. Judge Panner ordered the forfeiture of all the money seized.
During a search of Anaya's residence in October 2009, federal agents and local law enforcement officers seized over two pounds of heroin, drug packaging material, and over $6,500 in cash and arrested him. A search warrant was also executed at Delavirgen's residence where agents seized a firearm and ammunition and later located and arrested Delavirgen. Both have been in US Marshal custody since their arrest.