ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Minnesota

www.justice.gov/usao/mn

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney

Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations
(612) 664-5611
jeanne.cooney@usdoj.gov

Aitkin Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiring to Distribute Methamphetamine

MINNEAPOLIS – This afternoon in federal court in Minneapolis, an Aitkin man was sentenced for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Minnesota from 2008 through September of 2010. United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis sentenced Robert Garcia, age 42, to 240 months in prison on one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of aiding and abetting the distribution of methamphetamine. Judge Davis also ordered Garcia to have no contact with members of the El Forastero motorcycle gang. Garcia was indicted on October 5, 2010, along with three codefendants. He was convicted on February 18, 2011, following a four-day trial.

Evidence presented at trial established that from January 1, 2008, through September 29, 2010, Garcia and others sold large amounts of methamphetamine in and around Brainerd, Minnesota. Specifically, Garcia sold methamphetamine out of his business, DJ’s Auto Sales, located in Garrison, Minnesota. Trial evidence also showed that on June 24, 2010, Garcia ordered a pound of methamphetamine from the Twin Cities. As the drug was being transported to Brainerd, officers conducted a traffic stop and seized it.

On October 14, 2010, a search warrant was executed at Garcia's residence and his place of business. During the search of the home, officers recovered MDMA, marijuana, and psilocybin mushrooms. In addition, they found five firearms and more than 900 rounds of ammunition. The search also revealed that Garcia had ties to the El Forastero motorcycle gang. During the course of the investigation in this case, authorities seized a total of approximately 520 grams of pure methamphetamine linked to Garcia.

Following today’s sentencing, Bernard J. Zapor, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’s St. Paul Field Division, said, The success of this investigation can be attributed to the strong partnership with local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement agencies. ATF will continue to target these armed traffickers and reduce the violence in our communities by sending these defendants away to federal prison. On August 2, 2011, co-defendant Noel Gutierrez Manzanares, age 38, no known address, was sentenced to 120 months on one count of conspiracy to distribute in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty to the charge on February 8, 2011.

On August 17, 2011, co-defendant Karl James Pentz, age 49, of Aitkin, was sentenced to 92 months in federal prison on one count of conspiracy to distribute in excess of five grams of methamphetamine and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. He pleaded guilty to the charges on February 14, 2011. In addition to the conspiring to distribute methamphetamine, Pentz admittedly possessed firearms, including an AK-47 rifle. Because Pentz is a felon, he is prohibited under federal law from possessing firearms at any time. Pentz's prior felony convictions include third-degree possession of narcotics in Anoka County in 2002, fifth-degree possession of narcotics in Sherburne County in 2002, and fifth-degree possession of narcotics in Aitkin County in 2008.

On September 8, 2011, co-defendant Randy Lee Motzko, age 43, of Hilltop, Minnesota, was sentenced to time served on one count of conspiracy to distribute in excess of 50 grams of pure methamphetamine. He pleaded guilty on February 4, 2011.

This case was the result of an investigation by the ATF, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, the Lakes Area Drug Investigation Division, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, the Breezy Point Police Department, the Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office, the Isanti County Sheriff’s Office, the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department, and the Brainerd Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christian S. Wilton.

###