Leaders of drug ring are sentenced

November 03, 2007|By Matthew Dolan

A couple who ran an operation that sold crack cocaine out of bars in Baltimore's Fells Point neighborhood were sentenced to federal prison yeserday.

U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis sentenced Humberto Gasca, 35, of Baltimore to slightly more than 13 years in federal prison. The judge sentenced Gasca's wife, Josefina Quinonez, 41, of Aurora, Colo., to 10 years. Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute the drug.

Prosecutors said Davis increased Gasca's sentence after ruling that he is a career offender based on prior convictions for robbery and distribution of narcotics and based on his supervisory role over 15 other defendants in this case. Fourteen defendants have pleaded guilty.

According to their pleas, Gasca was a supervisor and supplier of drugs to a number of people, including his wife, who distributed cocaine and crack cocaine in Baltimore. Gasca obtained the drugs from sources in Colorado and Baltimore, authorities said. Quinonez would deliver crack cocaine to drug customers and assist Gasca and others in the crack sales, according to prosecutors.

During the investigation, government informants purchased more than a kilogram of crack cocaine from members of the drug conspiracy, prosecutors said. According to court documents, the operation sold multiple kilograms of powder and crack cocaine in 2005 and 2006.

Members of the organization also manufactured and sold hundreds of phony driver's licenses, Social Security cards, and alien registration documents, federal authorities said. Agents executed several search-and-seizure warrants in December 2006 and recovered kilograms of cocaine, drug scales, money and hundreds of fraudulent identification documents.

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