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Grants Pass brothers get federal prison time on drug charges

MEDFORD — Two Grants Pass brothers Monday were sentenced to more than a decade in prison each on federal drug charges, following a multi-agency raid last winter that netted more than a pound of heroin.

U.S. District Judge Owen Panner sentenced 36-year-old Marco Antonio Gutierrez to 14 years in prison and his brother, 43-year-old Samuel De La Cruz Gutierrez, to 10 years after the pair pleaded guilty to charges of possession of heroin and methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

Police arrested the Gutierrez brothers Jan. 21, 2014, after investigators with the Rogue Area Drug Enforcement team and several federal agencies served a search warrant at their travel trailer in the 2900 block of Cloverlawn Drive and found 1.9 pounds of heroin and a quarter-pound of meth. Police also seized just under $5,000 in cash and multiple firearms, including a sawed-off .410-gauge shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle reported stolen out of Jackson County.

While Samuel Gutierrez had no prior criminal history, Marco Gutierrez has multiple convictions for sale or transportation of marijuana, transportation of a controlled substance and inflicting corporal punishment on a spouse. At the time of his arrest, he was also facing pending weapons charges out of Siskiyou County, Calif., which were later dismissed as part of the federal plea agreement.

According to an affidavit filed by Special Agent Clark Wheeler of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Medford office, Samuel Gutierrez told a police informant that the brothers were being supplied by a cartel and had been making weekly trips to Portland and Visalia, Calif., to pick up the drugs. The brothers allegedly had been selling drugs in the area since May 2013, first out of motels and later out of the travel trailer, Wheeler wrote.

Reach reporter Thomas Moriarty at 541-776-4471, or by email at tmoriarty@mailtribune.com. Follow him at @ThomasDMoriarty.