An Orange County man who led police on a high-speed chase with more than 75 pounds of cocaine stashed in his vehicle was sentenced Tuesday to 15 1/2 years in federal prison.
Anthony Martinez, 40, of La Habra, pleaded guilty in January to one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. He was one of eight defendants charged in an indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court alleging a conspiracy to traffic cocaine throughout Southern California, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
On July 25, 2019, in Whittier, Martinez received two boxes from a co-defendant that contained 75.2 pounds of cocaine, placed the boxes in his car and drove off. When Whittier police officers attempted to pull Martinez over, he initially did so, then sped away, refusing to stop, and led police on a chase in which he veered into oncoming traffic and drove on the wrong side of the road, the plea agreement states.
“In so doing, (Martinez) recklessly created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to individuals in the community and law enforcement by fleeing from officers,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum. When police finally pulled Martinez over for good in Fullerton, they discovered the box of cocaine.
Martinez also was found in possession of 132.6 pounds of cocaine, separately wrapped in 2.2-pound 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.
The case’s lead defendant, Jesus Manuel Landeros-Cisneros, 51, of Covina, pleaded guilty last August to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He is serving a 174-month federal prison sentence for that offense.
Three other defendants in the case — Ryan Alexander “Flaco” Fischer, 23, of Covina, Manuel Angel Landeros-Lopez, 43, of Covina, David Elgrably, 51, of Solano County — are scheduled to go on trial July 27.
Three other defendants — Harnidhan Bhangu, 30, Harmanjot Singh, 29, and Gurpreet Chahal, 41, all Canadian nationals — are fugitives, prosecutors said.