Clinton man found guilty of funding cocaine deal

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Nico Savidge
Tuesday, September 10, 2013

MADISON—A jury found a Clinton man guilty of helping provide money for a large cocaine deal in Beloit last year, capping a two-day trial in federal court that ended Tuesday.

Johnny Espinoza, 32, and his brother, Jose, brought $24,000 to Beloit in July of 2012 so they could purchase a kilogram, or about two pounds, of cocaine, according to court documents.

It turned out the brothers were buying fake cocaine from an undercover police officer and a Drug Enforcement Administration informant.

After deliberating for about an hour Tuesday, a jury in U.S. District Court in Madison found Johnny Espinoza guilty of attempted possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office for the western district of Wisconsin.

Jose Espinoza pleaded guilty to the same charge in October of 2012 and was sentenced in December to 6 months in prison, according to the release.

A DEA agent wrote in an affidavit that Jose Espinoza was a “mid-level cocaine dealer,” and that he had worked with the agency's informant to bring five kilograms of cocaine from Texas to Wisconsin.

When the informant and an undercover officer met with Jose Espinoza outside the Asian Buffet restaurant in Beloit, he told them he only wanted to purchase one kilogram, and then went to Clinton to pick up Johnny Espinoza and their money, authorities said.

The two brothers returned with $24,000 to buy the kilogram and were arrested.

Johnny Espinoza will be sentenced on Nov. 26, according to the news release.

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