California Drug Courier Sentenced in Federal Court

California Drug Courier Sentenced in Federal Court

MOBILE, AL – A Los Angeles, California woman was sentenced to 21 months in prison for conspiring to distribute kilograms of marijuana.

According to court documents, Ashley Yvonne Torres, 32, was a drug and money courier for a California-based drug-trafficking organization led by codefendant Anthony Robert Tirado. The organization distributed kilograms of marijuana from the Los Angeles area to Mobile and other cities throughout the United States and employed several couriers—juveniles among them—who ferried bulk amounts of marijuana to Mobile and other cities on commercial flights. In turn, the couriers, including Torres, transported hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds back to California for Tirado.

In October 2018, Torres transported kilograms of marijuana in two checked suitcases to a coconspirator at a hotel in Mobile and flew back to California with $8,000 in tow. In November 2018, narcotics agents caught Torres’s coconspirator in possession of 20 pounds of high grade marijuana, thousands of dollars in cash, and a handgun. Later, in June 2020, agents seized nearly $60,000 in bulk cash from Torres at the Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans. The money, which Torres admitted to transporting to California in furtherance of drug trafficking and on Tirado’s behalf, had been hidden inside the lining portion of Torres’s checked luggage.

United States District Judge Terry F. Moorer ordered Torres to serve a three-year term of supervised release upon her release from prison, during which time she will undergo drug testing and treatment. The court did not impose a fine, but Judge Moorer ordered Torres to pay $100 in special assessments. Tirado is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Moorer in January 2023.

U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama made the announcement.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, and the Mobile Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Roller and Deborah Griffin prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

The investigation and prosecution of this case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

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