Prolific Southern Oregon drug trafficker sentenced to 11 years in federal prison

The leader of a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of meth and heroin in and around Klamath Falls was sentenced to federal prison Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

On July 30, Rogelio Gomez-Arias of Klamath Falls pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

He was sentenced to 135 months and five years’ supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said according to court documents, in May 2018, southern Oregon law enforcement began investigating Gomez-Arias’ trafficking organization.

Investigators learned than an individual in Mexico supplied the organization with methamphetamine in exchange for cash and firearms, and instructed it to transport narcotics to other west coast cities and beyond.

In August 2019, investigators conducted three controlled buys with Gomez-Arias, purchasing a total of three pounds of methamphetamine.

During the purchases, Gomez-Arias directed other members of his organization and openly explained his history of drug dealing. He explained in detail how he started selling small quantities of drugs and then moved up to ounces and, later, pounds.

He bragged of making $500,000 in a single week and transporting drugs to other cities, including Seattle and New York.

This information was corroborated when a co-conspirator was stopped on his way to New York with more than 700 grams of fentanyl, Williams said.

On October 9, 2019, a coordinated, multi-agency law enforcement operation was conducted to dismantle Gomez-Arias’ drug trafficking organization.

Four federal search warrants were executed in Klamath Falls and Dorris, California. Investigators seized more than 37 pounds of methamphetamine, 440 grams of heroin, 14 firearms, and nearly $50,000 in cash and arrested five co-conspirators, including Gomez-Arias.

On October 2, 2019, a federal grand jury in Medford returned a six-count indictment charging Gomez-Arias and three co-conspirators with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and distribution of a controlled substance. A fourth co-conspirator was charged by criminal complaint.

Three of Gomez-Arias’ co-conspirators—Alexis Chavez-Franco, 23; Domingo Matias-Hernandez, 36; and Juan Rodriguez-Ramirez, 62—remain in custody pending trial.

A fourth co-conspirator, Irving Beas Ceballos, 35, is on pre-trial release.

During sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane ordered Gomez-Arias to forfeit the U.S. currency seized and the firearms used to facilitate his crimes.

 

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