Head of Mexican Drug Trafficking Family Sentenced to 23 Year in Prison

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today that Miguel Ruiz-Bravo, 39, of Apatzingan, Mexico, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 23 years and four months in prison for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Ruiz-Bravo pleaded guilty on June 24, 2010.

According to court documents in a separate matter, in March 2003, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents discovered an active methamphetamine laboratory in the Tehama County town of Corning. The agents arrested seven individuals and seized approximately 36 pounds of methamphetamine. These individuals were observed traveling in three different vehicles, all of which were registered in the names of aliases used by Miguel Ruiz-Bravo, who was believed to be in Mexico at the time of the arrests. One of the individuals arrested was the defendant’s brother, Alejandro Ruiz-Bravo, who pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Following these arrests, agents continued their investigation into the Ruiz-Bravo organization. According to the defendant’s plea agreement, in July of 2004, agents received authorization to install a wiretap on a phone used by Ruiz-Bravo’s nephew, Jaime Ruiz-Estrella. Intercepted calls showed that Miguel Ruiz-Bravo was controlling an active methamphetamine distribution business in Sacramento from his home in Mexico, primarily through instructions passed to his nephew Ruiz-Estrella, and another brother named Gerardo Ruiz-Bravo. On August 1, 2004, agents seized 18 pounds of methamphetamine from Ruiz-Estrella. This seizure led to the arrest of 10 more individuals, including Ruiz-Bravo’s nephew and younger brother. Once again, it was believed Ruiz-Bravo was in Mexico at the time of the arrests. All defendants pleaded guilty, and Jaime Ruiz-Estrella and Gerardo Ruiz-Bravo received sentences of 188 and 168 months, respectively.

On August 24, 2005, an indictment charged Miguel Ruiz-Bravo with directing the delivery of the 18 pounds of methamphetamine seized from his nephew. On December 15, 2006, Ruiz-Bravo was arrested by state authorities with five other individuals, including another brother, Omar Ruiz-Bravo. The state charged Miguel Ruiz-Bravo with possessing approximately 80 pounds of methamphetamine, and he subsequently pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 17 years in prison by the Sacramento County Superior Court (case 06F10834). Following his sentencing, he was transferred to federal custody for prosecution.

In sentencing Ruiz-Bravo, Judge England said that the lengthy sentence imposed was the appropriate one given the amount of methamphetamine involved and the sophisticated nature of the organization’s activities.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Philip Ferrari prosecuted the case.

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