A man who led authorities on a high-speed pursuit with 75 pounds of cocaine in his vehicle in 2019 has pleaded guilty to a federal charge, officials announced Friday.
Anthony Martinez, 40, of La Habra, admitted to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Martinez and seven co-defendants were charged by a federal grand jury last February, when it was alleged he was part of a narcotics trafficking conspiracy that stored large quantities of cocaine in stash houses in Baldwin Park and Covina. The drugs were then delivered to buyers throughout Southern California.
On July 25, 2019, Martinez received two boxes from co-defendant Ryan Alexander Fischer, aka “Flaco,” in Whittier that contained 75 pounds of cocaine.
Whittier police officers at one point pulled Martinez over, but he sped away and led authorities on a dangerous chase in which he veered into oncoming traffic and drove on the wrong side of the road, according to his plea agreement.
He eventually pulled over in Fullerton, and that’s when police discovered the drugs.
Martinez later admitted that he also had 132 pounds of cocaine in a storage locker and an additional 53 pounds in a duffle bag.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, and he faces a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, officials said.
This lead defendant in the case, Jesus Manuel Landeros-Cisneros, 50, of Covina, pleaded guilty last summer to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.
The case’s other defendants – Fischer; Manuel Angel Landeros-Lopez, 43, of Covina and David Elgrably, 51, of Suisun City, California – are scheduled to go on trial on July 27. And three additional defendants – Harnidhan Bhangu, 30; Harmanjot Singh, 28 and Gurpreet Chahal, 41, all Canadian nationals – are fugitives.
Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration investigated the case, with help from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, as well as the South Gate, Brea and West Covina police departments.