MILWAUKEE (AP) – A Sheboygan man convicted of helping to run a sophisticated drug ring that trafficked cocaine and marijuana from Texas to Wisconsin has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Randy Martinez, who also goes by the name Robin Lee Martinez, was part of the so-called Balderas Organization, prosecutors said. The group is accused of conspiring to transport at least 10 pounds of cocaine and several thousand pounds of marijuana to Wisconsin.
Martinez, 30, ran the Wisconsin operations and helped distribute drugs and launder money, according to a criminal complaint.
A message left with Martinez’s defense attorney, Christopher Donovan, was not immediately returned Tuesday.
Federal authorities say the Balderas Organization used a number of techniques to transport drugs from Texas to Wisconsin, where prices are much higher.
One technique involving filling a car with hidden narcotics and having members of the organization follow behind to make sure nothing happened to the load. The group, including Martinez, recruited drivers who weren’t likely to raise suspicions, prosecutors said.
The vehicles were generally loaded with less than 50 pounds of marijuana apiece, because at those volumes Texas authorities often will seize the cargo and release those involved in the transport without charges, the federal prosecutor’s office said.
The organization also used buses, the postal service and other means to bring drugs to Wisconsin. Regardless of the method used, Martinez was involved in recruiting workers and making sure they did their job, authorities said.
Martinez also was accused of helping to launder money. Authorities say the Balderas Organization used a complex banking scheme to launder between $300,000 and $500,000.
Martinez allegedly directed individuals to transmit money through wire transfer or to smuggle large amounts of cash. He also was allegedly in charge of distributing drugs once they arrived in Wisconsin and recruiting people to receive packages mailed to the state.
Martinez was sentenced to 10 years and four months in federal prison.