For Immediate Release
Pueblo Woman Convicted of Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking and Firearm Charges
A documented gang member, the defendant faces a sentence of not less than 15 years and up to life in federal prison
DENVER – A jury in U.S. District Court in Denver late yesterday found Leilani Marie Ontiveras-Martinez, age 34, of Pueblo, guilty of conspiracy, drug trafficking and firearm charges, U.S. Attorney John Walsh, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Ken Croke and Pueblo Police Chief Luis Velez announced. The jury trial was before U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez, lasted four days, with the jury deliberating approximately 2 hours before reaching their verdict on the first of two phases. They deliberated a short while longer before returning a guilty verdict on the second of the two phases. Ontiveras-Martinez, who appeared at the trial in custody, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Martinez on July 6, 2016.
Ontiveras-Martinez was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on October 6, 2014 on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and being a felon in possession of ammunition.
The defendant is a Pueblo gang member and drug dealer. According to court testimony, she conspired with another person to distribute heroin, and she possessed and distributed heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine. The Pueblo Police Department investigated the defendant, and was able to develop enough information to obtain state search warrants for her car, home and person.
After Ontiveras-Martinez went through the drive thru of a fast food restaurant on June 18, 2014, the Pueblo Police Department initiated a traffic stop. Inside her purse law enforcement found 50 grams of heroin, which is worth about $5,000 on the street. In her house officers found in her dresser drawer multiple baggies containing about 150 grams of heroin, which is worth about $15,000 on the street. Also in her dresser drawer, she had baggies containing 113 grams of methamphetamine, worth about $13,000 on the street. In a small safe under Ontiveras-Martinez’s bed authorities found a bundle of cash, as well as another 4.5 grams of heroin, 20 grams of methamphetamine, and 7 grams of crack cocaine. Also within arms’ reach of the drugs in her bedroom, hidden in between the mattress and boxsprings of her bed was a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with three rounds, as well as a plastic baggie with ammunition. In total, Ontiveras-Martinez had well over $30,000 worth of drugs in her purse and in her house.
“This case demonstrates the shared commitment of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the ATF, working closely with the Pueblo Police Department and other southern Colorado law enforcement agencies to protect the people of the greater Pueblo area,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “This defendant, a gang member and drug dealer in Pueblo, was rightly convicted of drug trafficking and firearm violations following a jury trial, and faces substantial federal criminal prison time.”
“Ontiveras-Martinez committed herself to a life of violent crime a long time ago. She repeatedly promoted drug use and violence in our community and preyed on troubled individuals,” said SAC Ken Croke. “Thanks to the collaborative effort between Pueblo PD, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF, she will be unable to add to her criminal record or continue to negatively impact the citizens of Pueblo.”
“Ms. Ontiveras-Martinez is a career criminal and gang member in the City of Pueblo. She was a high level drug trafficker, dealing in Methamphetamines, Heroin, and Cocaine,” said Pueblo Police Chief Dr. Luis Velez. “Her conviction in Federal Court may be a precursor to similar collaborations in the future between municipal agencies and Federal agencies. I want to thank our Narcotics Officers, our Task Force Officers, and all of the Federal Agents and Prosecutors that took part in this investigation.”
Co-defendant Colter Grant Martinez, age 35, of Pueblo, was sentenced by Judge Martinez to serve 120 months (10 years) in federal prison for firearm and drug offenses. His federal prison sentence was also ordered to be served concurrently with any state imprisonment.
The defendant faces not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $1,000,000 fine for conspiracy to distribute heroin. She faces not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $1,000,000 fine for distribution of crack cocaine. Further, she faces not less than 10 years, and up to life in federal prison, as well as a $10,000,000 fine for distribution of methamphetamine. Ontiveras-Martinez faces not less than 5 years, and up to life in federal prison, as well as a $5,000,000 fine, for distribution of heroin. She faces not less than 5 years, to be served consecutively to any other prison sentence, for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense. Finally, she faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine for the one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition.
This case was investigated by the Pueblo Police Department’s Narcotics Unit and the ATF Gun Task Force.
The defendants were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kurt Bohn and Jamie Mendelson.