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Texas man sentenced to more than 14 years in federal drug conspiracy

BANGOR, Maine – A man formerly of Houston was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bangor after being found guilty of conspiracy to possess and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. The sentencing was the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Houston and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Apolinar Ortiz Islas, aka Polo, 44, a citizen of Mexico, illegally present in the United States, was sentenced to 14 years and two months imprisonment after being found guilty following a 3-day trial in October 2013.

Evidence at trial established that Ortiz-Islas was the Houston based source of cocaine for a group of Canadian drug traffickers from New Brunswick, Canada. The Canadian traffickers would smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash into Northern Maine and have it transported to Houston, where it was used to pay Ortiz-Islas for cocaine. The cocaine would then be transported back to Maine and smuggled into Canada. Testimony at trial indicated that Ortiz-Islas was obtaining the cocaine from a source in Mexico.

Evidence further established that the conspiracy operated in this manner for approximately two years. Ortiz-Islas was arrested in Houston in September 2012, as he attempted to deliver 10 kilograms of cocaine to an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a courier for the Canadian drug traffickers.