President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of a man Tuesday convicted in a massive bust of a drug operation transporting cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.
Authorities convicted Adan Nieves Martinez for the transportation of bulk amounts of various narcotics from Texas for distribution in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 2007. Martinez was arrested with eight other men and given 20 years in prison for his part in the operation. The charges cited trafficking of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, more than 5,000 grams of cocaine, more than 1,000 grams of heroin and 100 kilograms of marijuana, reports Grand Forks Herald.
Authorities specifically cited Martinez for distributing 100 grams of methamphetamine and 105 grams of cocaine in Grand Forks and Hallock, Minn. Obama commuted Martinez’s sentence Tuesday and he will officially walk free in May.
Most of the people who have received commutations from Obama are non-violent drug offenders, however many criticize applying that label to people dealing in deadly narcotics like heroin. Relentless efforts on the part of cartels, drug trafficking mules and distributors is helping fuel the current opioid epidemic and massive spike in fatal heroin overdoses.
Heroin deaths contributed to the first drop in U.S. life expectancy since 1993 and eclipsed deaths from motor vehicle accidents in 2015. The substance accounts for roughly 63 percent of drug fatalities, which claimed 52,404 lives in the U.S. in 2015.
Another felon involved in the bulk distribution of narcotics had a life sentenced reduced to 15 years, with certain requirements, by Obama Tuesday. Alberto Chahia received a life sentence in 2007 for serving as a middle level manager of a methamphetamine distribution ring. The group ran drugs from California to North Dakota and Minnesota for distribution.
Prosecutors said at his trial that the trafficking operations had close ties to the Mexican mafia.