SALT LAKE CITY – Roberto Manuel Marquez, 43, of Tooele, pleaded guilty Monday afternoon to one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.
Marquez, a Sureno gang member, was a fugitive from state parole when he was arrested Oct. 10, 2018, during a fugitive operation conducted by the U.S. Marshals Service’s Violent Fugitive Apprehension Team (VFAST) in the Salt Lake Valley. The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole had issued a warrant for Marquez after he removed a GPS ankle monitor and failed to report. The Tooele County Sheriff’s Office was also looking to talk to Marquez about a drive-by shooting in Middle Canyon in Tooele County on Oct. 3, 2018.
Task force officers developed information on Marquez’s location. Officers attempted to initiate a traffic stop in West Valley City, but the driver of the car fled at a high rate of speed and then attempted a U turn. After law enforcement officers tried to block the vehicle, the car hit two task force cars and came to a stop.
Marquez, who was in the passenger seat, was non-complaint, tased, and removed from the vehicle. After his arrest, officers found a key in his pocket that fit a gray lock box in the vehicle. They found meth, heroin, plastic baggies, drug paraphernalia and $3,269 in the box.
As a part of the plea agreement, Marquez admitted he possessed 346 grams of methamphetamine and $3,269. He agreed he was planning to distribute the methamphetamine to other people.
The plea agreement includes a stipulated sentence of 120 months in federal prison, subject to the approval of the Court. As a part of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors have agreed to dismiss a second count in the indictment, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, at sentencing.
While federal prosecutors cannot bind the State of Utah or Tooele County, parties to the federal plea agreement understand that the Tooele County Attorney’s Office will dismiss its pending case charging Marquez with discharge of a firearm during the drive-by shooting in Tooele after sentencing in the federal case.
There is no parole in the federal criminal justice system, so if the stipulated sentence is approved by the court, Marquez will serve 10 years in federal prison.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City are prosecuting the case. Special agents and task force officers with the U.S. Marshals Service’s VFAST and the DEA are investigating the case.