YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man who is expected to plead guilty and be sentenced Friday in federal court to having 20 kilos of cocaine has been battling addiction issues for years, his attorney wrote in a sentencing memorandum.
Defense attorney Sam Amendolara said his client, Benjamin Ortiz Ledezma, 38, wants nothing more than to return to his wife and three children in Arizona when his sentence is completed.
Ortiz Ledezma is expected to plead guilty Friday in the U.S. Northern District Court of Ohio before U.S. Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. to a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and also receive his sentence.
He was arrested late Feb. 21 after a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol pulled him over on Interstate 76 east in Milton Township for several traffic violations and found the cocaine after his SUV was searched.
After the SUV was pulled over, Ledezma told the trooper he was trying to make a call on his cell phone, an affidavit in the case said.
Ledezma appeared very nervous because he was sweating profusely.
He did not have a driver’s license, but did give the trooper a Mexican identification card and told the trooper he was on his way to do a construction job, the affidavit said.
The trooper called for a drug sniffing dog, which detected the smell of drugs from the back of the SUV, the complaint said. When troopers searched the SUV, they found large bricks of cocaine in the cargo area of the SUV, the affidavit said.
The troopers continued searching and found an additional 16 bricks of cocaine underneath the spare tire, the affidavit said.
The total weight of all bricks was 20 kilograms, according to the affidavit.
In the sentencing memorandum, Amendolara wrote his client admitted making weekly deliveries of cocaine for $4,000 to $8,000 per trip. The memorandum does not mention where the ultimate destination of the deliveries were.
Amendolara said his client is a native of Mexico who has no education past preschool and works odd jobs to support himself. He has a wife and three teenage children in Arizona who are in danger of being evicted because he has not been working since he was arrested.
Ortiz Ledezma has been addicted to cocaine and methamphetamine for years and has also suffered from mental health issues, Amendolara wrote.