A man caught near Ashland with more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine will serve federal prison time.
Angel Ochoa-Uriostegui, 31, was sentenced to five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of meth, according to court documents filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Medford.
On Feb. 6, Oregon State Police stopped Ochoa-Uriostegui on Interstate 5 at mile marker 11, near the south Ashland exit, where a search yielded roughly 13 pounds of meth, according to court documents.
Federal prosecutors say that previous to his arrest, Ochoa-Uriostegui had delivered five pounds of meth to an undercover agent.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office called 18 pounds of meth “an incredibly large amount.”
An OSP affidavit filed shortly after the arrest said the traffic stop originated when a trooper witnessed Ochoa-Uriostegui using a phone while driving, leading to a search of the Toyota van Ochoa-Uriostegui was driving.
Recent documents filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office, however, say Ochoa-Uriostegui had been trafficking heroin and meth from Southern California to Southern Oregon, and narcotics officers had placed a geo-location tracker on the van, registered to Ochoa-Uriostegui in Santa Ana, California. A warrant was issued Jan. 12, and the vehicle tracker was activated Jan. 14, prior to the first of a handful of drug buys monitored by police at Seven Feathers Casino in Canyonville, each in exchange for $9,000.
It is unclear whether the OSP trooper who stopped Ochoa-Uriostegui knew about the tracker or the ongoing investigation.
Ochoa-Uriostegui delivered about three pounds of meth from the Los Angeles area to the casino Jan. 14, and again Jan. 24. During the Jan. 24 delivery, Ochoa-Uriostegui reportedly also delivered roughly an ounce and a half of black tar heroin, prosecutors said.
When he was pulled over Feb. 6, he was on his way to deliver an even larger amount of drugs to undercover agents, according to federal prosecutors.
The 13 pounds of meth in Ochoa-Uriostegui’s van were part of a $39,000 drug deal involving an undercover buyer who’d been communicating with a dealer known as “Manny,” later identified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as Manuel Chapa-Castaneda.
A Grants Pass informant had told police that “Manny” used a cellphone with a Mexico number, and orchestrated drivers as middlemen from the Los Angeles area to Southern Oregon.
Court records show no charges filed against Chapa-Castaneda, nor any charges filed in California federal courts.
Ochoa-Uriostegui was sentenced Nov. 19 in U.S. District Court in Medford to 60 months in prison followed by 3 years of post-prison supervision, but details of his sentence were not filed until Thursday.