A man who escaped from different jails twice in less than a year was sentenced Monday to 18 years in prison on money laundering and drug charges.
Rocky Delgado Marquez, 36, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty on April 10 to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, conspiracy to commit money laundering and felon in possession of a firearm.
On May 1, 2012, Marquez was charged with numerous marijuana trafficking and money laundering offenses. The evidence showed that Marquez coordinated the importation of marijuana from Mexico into the U.S.
Prosecutors said he recruited load drivers and obtained vehicles that were outfitted with hidden compartments to hold hundreds of pounds of marijuana. Once the marijuana was in the U.S., Marquez was responsible for distributing the marijuana to customers primarily in the Midwest, prosecutors said.
The cash profits were collected and returned to Marquez in Phoenix. Marquez purchased homes, land, and vehicles with narcotics proceeds totaling more than $745,000, prosecutors said.
During the investigation, law enforcement agents seized about 5,290 pounds of marijuana, $2.7 million in U.S. currency, one home, two parcels of land, and several vehicles.
On May 14, 2012, Marquez escaped from the Maricopa County Lower Buckeye Jail. He was suspected of using the identity of an inmate who was scheduled for release that same day, deputies said.
Authorities believe Marquez made a deal with another prisoner to take his identity so he could get out of jail. It's unclear why the other prisoner went along with the ruse.
On Jan. 14, 2013, after an eight-month search, Marquez was arrested in the Detroit area by the U.S. Marshals Service. He possessed an assault-style rifle with a loaded high-capacity magazine.
He had been convicted previously of misconduct involving weapons in Maricopa County. On Jan. 20, 2013, Marquez escaped from a Wayne County, MI, jail facility and fled to Mexico.
Following an intensive manhunt by the U.S. Marshals Service, he was arrested in Mexico on Feb. 26, 2013. Marquez was returned to the United States on Feb. 27, 2013, and has remained in custody.
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