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Federal Way man sentenced to 87 months for conspiracy to distribute cocaine

Jonathan Jose Espinoza, 19, of Federal Way, was sentenced Friday to 87 months in prison and five years supervised release for conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Espinoza was found guilty of the crime April 20. He faced a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison for his role in a drug trafficking ring.

Espinoza helped the group transport cocaine north from Mexico and Southern California and then helped send the profits from the drug sales back south, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He knowingly transported currency and cocaine on the drug organization’s behalf six times, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

At sentencing U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones said to Espinoza, “You were not a minor player; you were not an insignificant player in the scheme. You were a key player.”

In July 2009, while the Drug Enforcement Administration was investigating the drug trafficking ring, Espinoza’s brother was pulled over in Cowlitz County while driving Espinoza’s Chevy Tahoe. The man was driving with a suspended license and Espinoza’s vehicle was impounded. DEA agents found $238,045 cash hidden in a secret compartment of the Tahoe. During the time Espinoza’s vehicle was impounded, he called several times attempting to retrieve the Tahoe.

During recorded calls, Espinoza and other members of the trafficking ring discussed the seizure of the vehicle, drug dealing and drug debts. On Sept. 22, 2009 DEA agents arrested several members of the drug ring. They also seized more than 5 kilos of cocaine, crack, methamphetamine and cash.

Espinoza was arrested in November.

The jury hearing Espinoza’s case ordered his Tahoe and the cash seized to be forfeited to the U.S. government.

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