A man who flaunted private jets and luxury cars on Instagram gets 11 years in prison for money laundering and drug dealing. In a cruel twist, his lawyer claims he used the accounts to get close to a member of Mexican drug cartels who was killed in a traffic accident.
The U.S. Sentencing Commission in September 2015 sentenced Richard Martinez to 10 years in prison for money laundering and conspiracy to traffic heroin and cocaine. But his lawyer had appealed for a mandatory minimum sentence of three years for his role in the drug trafficking. The defense argued that Martinez knew the person he had been communicating with was a drug trafficker and had been in contact with him on social media because Martinez had hired the person to operate his private planes.
The sentencing judge at the time wrote in his ruling that Martinez’s defense lawyer had “credibly explained” that “the defendant could not have known” the undercover officer was engaged in criminal activity. His client was a very high up person with social media accounts and had flown over 12,000 miles in a private plane in his life, the judge wrote.
But now his lawyer has argued that Martinez had hired the undercover officer, Oscar Martinez, to run his private planes.
In Martinez’s sentencing papers, his defense attorney, Michael Vladeck, explains that Martinez met the undercover officer in December 2012. In a phone call at that time, the two talked through the purchase of two helicopters. In another call, the undercover officer told Martinez that he had a lot of money to pay for the helicopters.
Vladeck says that Martinez agreed to the helicopter deal because the officer wanted to buy two helicopters together where they could fly over Mexico and pick up drug money.
Martinez then says the undercover officer paid for the helicopters.
In another call, he asked Martinez why he was flying over the Mexican border, to which Martinez replies: “My mom is a cop.”
Vladeck says Martinez asked the undercover officer to fly over the border because the officer