A Florida man known as the leader behind the cocaine pipeline with a network that stretched into Orlando was sentenced on Monday to more than 10 years in federal prison.

Kissimmee Drug Dealer Sent to Federal Prison

According to Orlando Sentinel, court records revealed that 33-year-old Eddie Martinez-Marquez was arrested on September 7, 2020. The resident of Kissimmee pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and the distribution of five kilograms or more of cocaine.

Martinez-Marquez is currently set to serve a prison sentence of 10 years and one month. He was also slapped with a $500,000 payoff, which authorities consider as the proceeds of his multi-kilo drug distribution.

Authorities stated that Martinez-Marquez was not only known in the illegal trade by the alias of Macho, but he also hid in the names of Barbu and bin Laden.

According to court records, investigators found that between 2016 and 2018, Martinez-Marquez served as the leader of a cocaine distribution organization. The organization worked with a male co-conspirator in the city of Jacksonville, who sold the drugs in the area.

Moreover, in 2018, the co-conspirator, who was not named in the court records, was arrested. The co-conspirator revealed to authorities that he usually buys about an ounce of cocaine from Martinez-Marquez twice a month. However, the amounts increased over time to as much as two kilograms. The Florida cocaine pipeline mastermind charged as much as $27,000 per kilogram of his cocaine product.

Meanwhile, in the summer of 2018, a male courier working for the co-conspirator was discovered delivering cocaine and receiving cash from multiple locations in the state. The cocaine distribution even included the Camden Lee Vista apartment complex in south Orlando.

Also, investigators in Florida observed that Martinez-Marquez was driving to and from the apartment complex. Authorities even discovered that the mastermind visited a particular room in the area. Later on, authorities found out that the property was leased to a family member. The room's utilities were discovered listed under the name of Martinez-Marquez's longtime girlfriend.

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Florida Cocaine Pipeline Mastermind Faces 10 Years in Prison

Court documents showed that the Orlando apartment was used as a base of operations for transactions with Jacksonville, where the courier reported picking up cocaine at the apartment and delivering cash payments. Florida authorities said that the courier delivered a total of $78,000 in cash on one occasion, based on the court records.

In August 2018, the DEA and the FBI agents observed that an "object" was obtained by the cocaine courier from the Orlando apartment before traveling to Jacksonville. Afterwhich, they got telephone records to confirm that the suspect and his co-conspirator were coordinating with the courier to pick up the said object.

A K-9 officer detected the presence of drugs, which prompted the troopers to search the vehicle where they found a kilogram of cocaine.

After the incident, investigators learned through the obtained telephone records that Martinez-Marquez and his co-conspirator were shocked by the arrest. Investigators also discovered that Martinez-Marquez even stated that the lack of an arrest "smells like an investigation."

Also, the conversation revealed that they had discussed future installments using vacuum-sealed bags in vehicles to avoid K-9 detection.

Later that month, calls involving an exchange between the courier and the co-conspirator were intercepted by investigators. The call took place in a commercial property where the drug business ran.

The following week, agents discovered three bags that each contained 200 grams of cocaine. Both men were then arrested during the search.

Upon Martinez-Marquez's plea agreement, he admitted that he supplied at least 15 kilograms of cocaine.

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Written by: Jess Smith

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