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Wisconsin man sentenced to federal prison on cocaine charge

MADISON, Wis. – A Wisconsin man was sentenced Tuesday to 78 months in federal prison for attempting to possess and distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); DEA; Beloit Police Department; Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation; Stateline Area Narcotics Team; Rockford Police Department; FBI Safe Streets Task Force; Rock County Sheriff's Department; and Illinois State Police.

Jose Espinoza, 30, of Clinton, Wis., was sentenced Dec. 18 by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to 78 months in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release. Espinoza pleaded guilty to this charge Oct. 17.

Through a series of telephone calls over the weekend of July 21, it was agreed between an informant and Espinoza that they would meet July 24 for Espinoza to purchase cocaine. An undercover officer went to the location where the sale was to take place and the informant introduced the officer to Espinoza as the source of the drugs. The undercover officer negotiated the sale of about five kilograms of cocaine to Espinoza. Espinoza indicated that he would pay for one kilogram of cocaine and purchase the remaining four kilograms subject to their quality. The undercover officer then showed Espinoza five kilograms of fake cocaine.

Espinoza left the area and returned a short time later with his brother, Johnny Espinoza, and showed the officer about $23,000. The defendant and his brother were arrested. Johnny Espinoza, 31, also of Clinton, was indicted on this charge Aug. 1 and is scheduled to go to trial in May 2013.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman, Western District of Wisconsin, is prosecuting the case.