Jury recommends two life sentences for Floyd County man convicted on drug, gun charges

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FLOYD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — A Floyd County man may face two life sentences after his conviction for multiple drug distribution and gun possession charges on Wednesday.

A grand jury found 31-year-old Jorge Humberto Martinez-Estrada — also known as Sandro Bermuba Gaston — guilty of distributing at least 200 grams of methamphetamine, distributing more than 250 grams of cocaine, possessing a firearm while in possession of a Schedule I/II narcotic and possessing a firearm while not being a U.S. citizen on Wednesday, Feb. 26. On Friday, Feb. 28, Virginia State Police announced that the jury recommended two life sentences and eight additional years for Martinez-Estrada.

Floyd County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Hupp conducted this three-day trial after a two-year investigation that netted record seizures of methamphetamine, along with cocaine, fentanyl, illegal prescription drugs and illegal firearms.

“The sentencing recommendations handed up by the citizens of Floyd County serving on this jury deliver a very strong statement,” says Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom. “Our residents, law enforcement, social services, courts and schools have witnessed firsthand the devastating and overwhelming effects that methamphetamine, fentanyl, illegal prescription drugs and cocaine have had on our community in recent years. We are hopeful this conviction and sentencing wards off future drug trafficking networks from trying to establish a foothold in Floyd County.”

Officials say Martinez-Estrada was arrested along with 47-year-old Alvaro Tejeda-Galvan after authorities executed search warrants at two residences in the 100 block of Pine Mountain Road in Floyd County in September 2019. According to Virginia State Police, the search warrants yielded $1.4 million worth of meth, which police called a record a record amount; $307,000 worth of cocaine; more than $140,000 worth of fentanyl pills; and 21 illegal firearms.

The search warrants stemmed from Operation Trap Door, which began in 2017 as a narcotics investigation in Carroll County by the Twin County Drug Task Force. The investigation eventually spread to include the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force as well as law enforcement agencies from surrounding counties and states.

More than 39 pounds of meth worth $2.1 million was seized during Operation Trap Door, Virginia State Police said. (Photo: Curt Schruth/WFXR News)
More than 39 pounds of meth worth $2.1 million was seized during Operation Trap Door, Virginia State Police said. (Photo: Curt Schruth/WFXR News)

Investigators followed leads and seized meth, cocaine, illegal prescription drugs, fentanyl, and firearms across the Commonwealth, nearby states, and even Mexico.

Virginia State Police says that Operation Trap Door yielded nine arrests on more than 30 charges and prevented more than $2.1 million in meth and cocaine from hitting the streets in Carroll, Floyd, Grayson, Pulaski, and Wythe counties.

“The successful outcomes related to this extensive, multi-jurisdictional investigation are the direct result of the exceptional dedication and effort put forth by local, state and federal law enforcement and Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom,” says Captain J. Joe Daniels, Jr. with Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Wytheville Field Office. “Operation Trap Door is still far from over, as the task forces continue to pursue leads and seek out individuals associated with this drug network.”

Martinez-Estrada’s sentencing date is scheduled for May 19 at Floyd County Circuit Court, but as of now, he remains held without bond at New River Valley Regional Jail. Tejeda-Galvan’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 2020.

The leaders in the joint operation were the Twin County Drug Task Force — which includes investigators from the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Galax Police Department, Grayson County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police — and the Claytor Lake Drug Task Force — which consists of investigators from the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, Pulaski Police Department, Wythe County Sheriff’s Office and Virginia State Police.

Additional investigative support came from the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program, Carroll County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Wythe County Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Virginia State Police Tactical Teams, Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Interdiction Teams and High-Tech Crimes Division. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also provided technical assistance in the investigation.

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