Two Mexican Nationals Sentenced for Trafficking Drugs

3 years 6 months 11 hours ago Tuesday, June 17 2014 Jun 17, 2014 Tuesday, June 17, 2014 1:40:00 PM CDT June 17, 2014 in News
By: Hanna Knutson, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY- Two Mexican nationals were sentenced in federal court Tuesday for trafficking cocaine and methamphetamine in Cole and Moniteau counties.

Jesus Ricardo-Amaya, 31, Eloy Castaneda-Gonzalez, 34, Beroldo Almazan, 34, and Asolfo Almazan-Hernandez, 43, each pleaded guilty to their roles in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. Froylan Pedroza-Guadarrama, 31, pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Pedroza-Guadarrama and Ricardo-Amaya, both citizens of Mexico, were sentenced in separate hearings before a U.S. District Judge. Pedroza-Guadarrama was sentenced to nine years in federal prison without parole. Ricardo-Amaya was sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole.

Co-defendants Castaneda-Gonzalez, Almazan, and Almazan-Hernandez, all of whom are Mexican nationals residing in California, Mo., have been sentenced. 

Castaneda-Gonzalez was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Almazan was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Almazan-Hernandez was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison without parole.The court also ordered them to forfeit to the government $52,928.

A DEA agent learned that Castaneda-Gonzalez wanted to purchase seven kilograms of cocaine from two cooperating sources. The DEA's cooperating sources agreed to travel to Missouri and deliver cocaine for $24,000 per kilogram.

On June 21, 2012 cooperating sources directed Castaneda-Gonzalez to meet them at a Jefferson City motel. 

Castaneda-Gonzalez was accompanied by Almazan and Almazan-Hernandez when he arrived at the motel room. Castaneda-Gonzalez did not have enough money to purchase seven kilograms of cocaine, but offered to provide the cooperating sources with five pounds of methamphetamine, along with money in exchange for the cocaine. 

They accepted the offer, and Castaneda-Gonzalez, Almazan and Hernandez left the motel room, stating they would return shortly with the methamphetamine and money. Casraneda-Gonzalez, Almazan and Almazan-Hernandez returned to the motel room. Castaneda-Gonzalez gave the cooperating sources a package that contained nearly one pound of crystal meth.

A short time later, Almazan-Hernandez left the room momentarily and returned with a bag containing the remaining four pounds of crystal meth. While inside the room, Almazan made several telephone calls which sounded like he was arranging for Almazan-Hernandez to meet with Almazan's customers at a nearby McDonald's. Almazan-Hernandez returned 30 minutes later with $20,000 in cash. 

The cooperating sources then provided Castaneda-Gonzalez with one kilogram of cocaine to inspect, and told him they were going to leave the room to obtain the remaining six kilograms.

Castaneda-Gonzalez became extremely nervous and fled from the room followed by Almazan, but both were apprehended after a brief foot chase. Almazan-Hernandez was also taken into custody as he walked out of the motel room. 

Based on Almazan's phone calls, investigators believed that additional conspirators were at a nearby McDonald's. Investigators located Pedroza-Guadarrama, Ricardo-Amaya, and co-defendant Victor Hugo De La Roza-Garza, 32, a Mexican national, who were arrested in separate car stop as they left the McDonald's. Officers discovered $15,000 inside a bag on the back seat of De La Roza's vehicle and an additional $14,000 hidden in a false compartment of a toolbox. 

De La Roza-Garza pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy to distribute cocaine and awaits sentencing.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Mid-Missouri Drug Task Force and the Jefferson City Police Department. 

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