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Huge Drug Seizure in Valencia Leads to Guilty Plea

An Orange County man pleaded guilty Thursday to federal drug charges in connection with the seizure of about $140.2 million worth of cocaine in a Valencia condominium garage last year.

Michael Martinez, 29, and an accomplice were arrested in February, federal prosecutors said.

Asst. U. S. Attorney Jeffrey W. Johnson, who prosecuted the case, said Martinez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Martinez could face life in prison without possibility of parole, Johnson said. He also may have to pay fines as high as $8 million.

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Authorities started tracking Martinez in Santa Monica in March, 1992, when they learned from informants that Martinez and several others would make a high volume drug transaction, Johnson said. FBI agents and other officers followed as he made a drug pickup in Downey and drove the drug to a Valencia condo, where agents seized more than a ton of cocaine the next day, Johnson said.

Martinez is scheduled to be sentenced by U. S. District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer on Aug. 9. A co-defendant, Alejandro Ordonez, of Colombia, also faces charges in connection with the seizure, Johnson said.


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