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MV man convicted of importing heroin

Man signed for package containing more than a kilogram of drug

A federal jury recently convicted a Mountain View man of importing and intending to distribute heroin, according to the Department of Homeland Security. He faces at least 10 years in prison.

Federal officers arrested 23-year-old Mike Gama on June, 20, 2011 after he signed for a package from Mexico that was addressed to him. The package contained a tortilla press which had more than a kilogram of black tar heroin hidden inside, a DHS press release reported.

"That's a lot," Sgt. Sean Thompson, public information officer for the Mountain View Police Department, said. No one in the MVPD knew about the heroin bust until they were questioned about it by the Voice, Thompson said. Federal officers conducted the operation without the participation of local law enforcement.

An 18-month investigation followed Gama's arrest, according to the release. During that time government agents built a case intended to show that "Gama had knowingly participated in a scheme to import heroin into the U.S." The jury agreed and convicted Gama of "possession with intent to distribute a kilogram or more of heroin" and "importation of a kilogram or more of heroin."

The evidence presented at Gama's trial showed that Gama had signed for the package containing the tortilla press and heroin, which was shipped to him via DHL Express from Michoacan, Mexico. That package had initially been stopped by customs and border patrol officers who were inspecting international shipments at the DHL hub in Cincinnati.

Gama, who had been free on bail, was taken into custody by the United States Marshals, the release said. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15 in San Jose by U.S. District Court Judge Edward J. Davila. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. The maximum penalty is life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million.

According to the DEA, black tar heroin is a type of heroin found mostly in the western United States. It is produced in Mexico and differs from "white heroin," which comes from Colombia and is primarily sold on the East Coast.

According to a National Drug Intelligence Center report on heroin published in 2000, a "kilogram of 79 percent pure black tar heroin sold for $40,000 to $75,000 in Imperial County" in 1999.

Thompson said the MVPD arrests people for possession of heroin from time to time. "It's not as common as meth," he said. "But we do see it."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by chuck mangione
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

Man, I was really looking forward to those tortillas.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sean
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 1, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Reality check, wow! I bet dude wasn't expecting such a harsh punishment or even getting caught. Federal prison, dang, 23 years old? Double dang.Crime doesn't pay but i'm sure taxpayers will.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 1, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Somebody, somewhere is angry right now after taking a $40k-$80k top-line loss to their business. Serves them right.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by so many errors so little time
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm

" ... which comes from Columbia ..." meaning "Colombia" no doubt

C'mon, doesn't anyone pay attention?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hope Knott
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 1, 2013 at 5:15 pm

I think there's a new push of smack coming in. I have friends up in Eureka and while its always been an issue up there, its really bad now.
I know a lot came in to the US during the 90's and use was way up.
Hopefully we're not seeing the tip of the iceberg. Keep an eye oiut for more stories like this


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tired Engineer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 4, 2013 at 8:13 am

Tired Engineer is a registered user.

Interesting to look at the numbers here .. 10 yrs in prison, probably 40K +/year. 18 month federal investigation - there goes another 200K minimum. Prosecutors, county jail, public defender all need their cut. Average American family makes 50K a year. Gama gets 10 years of servitude. The tax paying public collectively gets double that. At least we get to go home at night.


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