Mo. couple with history of drug charges sentenced for trafficking

3 years 11 months 11 hours ago Thursday, November 19 2015 Nov 19, 2015 Thursday, November 19, 2015 12:19:13 PM CST November 19, 2015 in News
By: Katie Grunik, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY - Prosecutors announced Thursday a Missouri couple was sentenced for drug-trafficking after a man overdosed on heroin in a Columbia hotel room. 

The married couple, Gustavo Ruvalcaba, 45, and Jennifer Foust, were sentenced in separate appearances. Ruvalcaba, of St. Louis, was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in federal prison without parole. Foust, of Berkeley, was sentenced to six years in federal prison without parole. 

In May 2015, both were found guilty of conspiracy to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine and meth. Ruvalcaba was found guilty of possessing those drugs with the intent to distribute. Foust was also charged with possession, but the court declared a mistrial on that charge. 

On July 14, 2014, the Columbia Police Department responded to a heroin overdose at the Super 8 Motel. Police said Foust called 911 for Ruvalcaba who was on the floor being treated by EMS when they arrived. Officers seized 16.4 grams of heroin, 6.6 grams of crack cocaine, 35.3 grams of powder cocaine and 11.6 grams of pure meth. Police also found seven cell phone and more than  $78,000 divided in multiple piles and envelopes. 

History of run-ins with police

In July 2013, St. Charles police found the couple in a Embassy Suites hotel room with drugs throughout and a large pile of cash in plain view. Officers believed evidence was being destroyed, so they opened the locked bathroom door and found Ruvalcaba flushing the contents of plastic bags down the toilet and sink. 

Ruvalcaba was handcuffed. As police questioned Foust, Ruvalcaba ingested some of the meth. He had chunks of meth in his mouth and on his face and t shirt. Police said he quickly ate the meth and refused to spit it out. He told he police he ingested the meth because, "you can't charge me without any evidence."

While the couple was being held at the police station, Ruvalcaba, whose right hand was handcuffed to the holding bench, reached with his free left hand to remove his shoe and retrieved a package of meth. Ruvalcaba threw the package of meth toward Foust, who pulled it toward her with her foot, placed it in her mouth and swallowed it. Officers ordered Foust to open her mouth and noticed a white residue on her tongue; officers also found meth on the floor where Foust was sitting.

On September 12, 2013, St. Charles police officers arrested Ruvalcaba and Foust after their vehicle was pulled over on Interstate 70 for operating without proper registration. A K-9 walked around the vehicle and found several syringes in a suitcase in the trunk.

On Dec. 6, 2013, law enforcement officers conducted surveillance of a St. Charles home, after being notified that two packages suspected of containing narcotics were scheduled to be delivered. After the packages were delivered, Ruvalcaba and Foust exited the residence. Ruvalcaba placed a microwave oven into a vehicle driven by Foust.

Ruvalcaba and Foust then left the residence together and were followed by officers. As officers attempted to stop the vehicle driven by Foust, she rapidly accelerated and drove onto I-70. Foust weaved in and out of traffic for several miles at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour to avoid police. During the chase, Ruvalcaba was seen leaning out the window and throwing several packages containing a white substance, suspected to be meth, from the vehicle.

After the pursuit, officers searched the home and recovered 15.1 grams of meth. A resident of the home told investigators he allowed Ruvalcaba and Foust to ship the packages containing meth to his house. He estimated that the packages received that day contained two kilograms of meth, which Ruvalcaba had hidden inside the microwave oven.

According to court documents, investigators interviewed a cooperating source in February 2015, who recognized Ruvalcaba and knew him to supply meth to a mutual associate. The cooperating source saw Ruvalcaba deliver three pounds of meth to their mutual associate on two different occasions.

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