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Pasco man sentenced to life in prison for murder in connection with drug trafficking crime

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SPOKANE, WA - Michael C. Ormsby, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington announced that Domingo Valdovinos (a.k.a. Junior), age 28, of Pasco, Washington, was sentenced to a life term in federal prison after a jury found him guilty of murder in connection with a drug-trafficking conspiracy. Senior United States District Judge W. Fremming Nielsen also imposed two 30-year terms of imprisonment for Valdovinos’s convictions for methamphetamine-trafficking offenses.

According to the information given during court proceedings, Valdovinos, along with his uncle, Benito Baldovinos, lured the victim to a residence where the two men then beat the victim with baseball bats, tied the victim up, and drove the victim to a remote location in Stevens County, where they then doused the victim with gasoline, shot him multiple times, and then set the body on fire. 

 The investigation was initially conducted by the Spokane Police Department, Idaho State Police, Stevens County Sheriff’s Department and Pasco Police Department. After discovering the murder was connected to a methamphetamine-trafficking organization with ties to the Eastern District of Washington, Mexico, North Dakota and Idaho, the Spokane-based DEA and United States Attorney’s Office became involved.

At sentencing, Senior Judge Nielsen found that Valdovinos was the leader and organizer of the methamphetamine-trafficking conspiracy. Senior Judge Nielsen further recounted the heinous nature of the murder. The Judge specifically noted that the amount of drugs trafficked by Valdovinos’ organization was one of the largest he had seen in over twenty years on the Federal bench. He noted both Valdovinos’ leadership of the organization, which was responsible for upwards of 50 pounds per month of methamphetamine transported into this area, and orchestration of the murder of the victim.

Co-conspirators Benito Baldovinos, Joseph Gillespie, and Dillon Casteel, plead guilty to their involvement in the murder of the victim. Co-coconspirators Christopher Teuscher and Jorge Mednoza Sanchez, who were not implicated in the murder, plead guilty to their involvement in the methamphetamine-trafficking conspiracy.

Michael C. Ormsby said, “This case presented a perfect example of the dangers involved in the trafficking of illegal drugs. Not only did the members of this criminal organization distribute a stunning amount of drugs, but they resorted to a very violent murder as part of their operation.”

USA Ormsby went on to state, “This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes. I commend the federal, county, and local law enforcement agencies for their hard work and thorough investigation in this matter. Each individual involved made significant contributions to the successful investigation and prosecution of this case.”