Dealing drugs in Madras

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Juan Miguel LopezA Madras drug dealer, Juan Miguel Lopez, 29, who went by the nickname "Monster," was sentenced March 31 to over 11 years in federal prison.

Lopez, who told police that he was associated with the Mexian Mafia, had been in continuous custody since his arrest in Madras in August 2012 for violating his probation.

U.S. District Judge Marco A. Hernandez sentenced Lopez to 135 months in prison. In December 2013, Lopez pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

After Lopez has completed his 135-month prison term, he will be required to serve five years of supervised release, during which time he will be prohibited from associating with any gang members.

“Mr. Lopez was a dangerous, armed drug dealer who spread destruction throughout Central Oregon and Warm Springs,” said U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall. “The long prison term imposed by Judge Hernandez will protect the public from this prolific drug dealer.”

Lopez had five prior felony convictions for either delivery or possession of drugs, as well as a conviction in Jefferson County Circuit Court for reckless endangerment, based on an incident in which he hurled a bottle at a woman and threw gang signs at Cove Palisades State Park.

The federal conviction for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine resulted from a search warrant executed at Lopez’s home on Aug. 6, 2012, in Madras.

During the search warrant, police officers seized approximately one-half pound of methamphetamine, a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun, a .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun, ammunition, scales, drug packaging materials, and $2,655 in cash.

Lopez, who was on Jefferson County probation at the time, was arrested that same day, and has remained in the custody of the U.S Marshal's Service since then.

An investigation by the Warm Springs Police Department’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force revealed that Lopez had been selling drugs around the Madras and Warm Springs areas.

The defendant admitted to police that the two handguns seized from his home belonged to him. Lopez told the police that he bought the firearms from an unidentified person at the Indian Head Casino in Warm Springs.

Assistant U.S. attorneys Scott Kerin and Craig Gabriel prosecuted the case.

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