Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Marco Hernandez sentenced Samuel Navarrette-Aguilar, 41, a citizen of Mexico, to 240 months for his managerial role in a heroin trafficking conspiracy involving a kilogram or more of heroin. A federal jury found the defendant guilty of the conspiracy in June of 2013.
Judge Hernandez found by a preponderance of evidence that heroin distributed by the defendant resulted in the death of Erin Freeman, 22, who overdosed on heroin in her Portland residence in June of 2012. Judge Hernandez cited this and other factors to support his sentence including the fact that the defendant committed this crime after escaping from a Washington state prison sentence for drug trafficking and having remained at large since 1999. Although the quantity of heroin subjected the defendant to a statutorily mandated minimum sentence of twenty years, Judge Hernandez indicated he would have pronounced the same sentence independent of the mandatory minimum requirement.
Reaching into the upper echelon of a trafficking conspiracy from the tragic scene of a young woman’s last failure against heroin addiction, required a fast moving investigation led by the Portland Police Bureau Drugs and Vice Division with support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“This sentence serves justice. In 2012 we lost 147 Oregonians to heroin, many of those, like Erin Freeman, were far too young”, said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “This defendant and other purveyors of this deadly drug face heavy penalties as Oregon and communities across the nation address the clear and present danger of this heroin epidemic.”