Man, 28, sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking into Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A man was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for his involvement in a drug distribution ring that trafficked large amounts of narcotics from Mexico to Portland.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that 28-year-old Javier Sarabia of Fontana, California was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison with five years’ supervised release.

According to court documents, special agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began investigating a drug trafficking organization operating in Portland and Vancouver as far back as April 2019.

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Later that month, investigators stopped a vehicle heading north on I-5 toward Portland. An initial search of the vehicle yielded $23,000 in cash and what appeared to be “hand-written drug ledgers,” authorities said. A later, more comprehensive search yielded 100 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and eight pounds of heroin hidden under compartments in the vehicle’s front seats.

Investigators later found out the driver of that vehicle had recently communicated with Sarabia, who served as drug load coordinator and in a few other positions for the trafficking organization.

In May 2019, police in Chino, California stopped Sarabia on the road and found the car contained around 10 pounds of methamphetamine. Authorities said Sarabia confessed to being involved in the trafficking ring and added he’d loaded the drugs into the vehicle seized by DEA agents in Oregon.

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On August 14, 2019, a federal grand jury in Portland indicted Sarabia and 11 others on five counts of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances, use a communication facility, and maintain drug-involved premises and other charges.

In October 2023, Sarabia plead guilty to the conspiracy charge.

Sarabia is the 11th person involved to be sentenced. The 12th is currently a fugitive, authorities say.

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