An Orange County man who led officers on a high-speed car chase after they attempted to pull him over with about 75 pounds of cocaine in his vehicle pleaded guilty Friday to a federal narcotics charge.
Anthony Martinez, 40, of La Habra, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
In February, a Los Angeles federal grand jury charged Martinez and seven other defendants in a superseding indictment alleging a narcotics trafficking conspiracy in which large quantities of cocaine were stored in stash houses in Baldwin Park and Covina, then delivered to buyers in Southern California.
According to his plea agreement, on July 25, 2019, in Whittier, Martinez received two boxes from co-defendant Ryan Alexander Fischer, 23, of Covina, that contained 75.2 pounds of cocaine, placed the boxes in his car and drove off.
When Whittier police officers attempted to stop Martinez, he initially pulled over, then sped away, triggering a chase during which he veered into oncoming traffic and drove on the wrong side of the road, the plea agreement states. When police finally pulled Martinez over for good in Fullerton, they discovered the box of cocaine.
Martinez further admitted that, simultaneously, he was in possession of 132.6 pounds of cocaine, separately wrapped in one kilogram bricks located in a storage locker, and 52.9 pounds of cocaine located inside a duffel bag. In total, Martinez admitted to possessing 260.6 pounds of cocaine.
U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald scheduled a May 17 sentencing hearing, at which time Martinez will face between 10 years and life imprisonment.
The case’s lead defendant, Jesus Manuel Landeros-Cisneros, 50, of Covina, pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 11.
The other defendants — Fischer, Manuel Angel Landeros-Lopez, 43, of Covina, and David Elgrably, 51, of Suisun City — are scheduled to go on trial on July 27.
Three defendants — Harnidhan Bhangu, 30. Harmanjot Singh, 28. and Gurpreet Chahal, 41. all Canadian nationals — are fugitives, prosecutors said.