A man who pleaded guilty to leading authorities on a high-speed chase while carrying over 75 pounds of cocaine in his vehicle was sentenced to more than 15 years in federal prison, officials announced Tuesday.
Anthony Martinez, 40, pleaded guilty in January to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He is one of eight people indicted in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy that alleges they stored large quantities of cocaine in stash houses in Baldwin Park and Covina, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
The charges stem from a July 25, 2019, incident when Martinez received two boxes that contained 75 pounds of cocaine in Whittier from co-defendant Ryan Alexander Fischer, aka “Flaco.”
Whittier police officers 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, officials said.
“[Martinez] recklessly created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to individuals in the community and law enforcement by fleeing from officers,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Martinez eventually pulled over in Fullerton, and that’s when police discovered the drugs. He later admitted that he also had 132 pounds of cocaine in a storage locker and an additional 53 pounds in a duffle bag.
This case’s lead defendant, Jesus Manuel Landeros-Cisneros, 51, of Covina, pleaded guilty last August to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He is serving a 174-month federal prison sentence for that offense.
Three other defendants in the case — Fischer, 23, of Covina; Manuel Angel Landeros-Lopez, 43, of Covina; and David Elgrably, 51, of Suisun City, California — are scheduled to go on trial July 27.
Three additional defendants — Harnidhan Bhangu, 30; Harmanjot Singh, 29; and Gurpreet Chahal, 41; all Canadian nationals — remain at large.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations investigated the incident, with help from the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. Additionally, the South Gate, Brea and West Covina police departments assisted in the drug seizures.