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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Four Mexican National Indicted for Meth, Nearly Eight Kilos Seized by ATF


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that four Mexican nationals were indicted by a federal grand jury today, in two separate but related cases, for their roles in distributing large amounts of methamphetamine in Jackson County, Mo., and elsewhere.

The indictments, returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., are the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives into the distribution of large quantities of methamphetamine. In the course of the investigation, ATF agents seized nearly eight kilograms of methamphetamine.

The indictments replace separate federal criminal complaints that were filed on May 21, 2015.

USA v. Santana-Martinez, et al.

Artemio Santana-Martinez, 26, of Oakland, Calif., and Antonio Aguilar-Reyes, 39, of Boulevard, Texas, both of whom are citizens of Mexico, are charged with aiding and abetting each other to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on May 20, 2015.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, a cooperating defendant (who is not identified in court documents) told agents that one of his/her suppliers, later identified as Santana-Martinez, was a kilogram-level methamphetamine dealer and that the cooperating defendant had been purchasing large quantities of methamphetamine from this source for several months.

On May 20, 2015, the cooperating defendant (working under the direction of ATF agents) contacted Santana-Martinez and ordered a kilogram of methamphetamine to be delivered to an Independence, Mo., residence. That afternoon, the affidavit says, Santana-Martinez and Aguilar-Reyes arrived at the Independence residence and were arrested. Agents searched their vehicle and seized two kilograms of methamphetamine, four cell phones and a small bound composition book which appeared to be a drug ledger (in Spanish). Agents also seized $800 from Aguilar-Reyes and $89 from Santana-Martinez.

USA v. Garcia-Miranda, et al.

Jorge Garcia-Miranda, 29, and Abel Gonzalez-Jimenez, 44, both of whom are Mexican nationals with unknown addresses, were charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Jackson County and elsewhere between Dec. 14, 2014, and May 1, 2015.

Garcia-Miranda and Gonzalez-Jimenez were arrested on May 20, 2015, in their room at a Mission, Kan., hotel, where federal agents seized approximately 5.7 kilograms of methamphetamine.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, a cooperating defendant (working under the direction of ATF agents) placed an order for a kilogram of methamphetamine from one of his/her suppliers (who is not identified in court documents). Agents had previously observed the cooperating defendant purchase approximately 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine from this supplier.

Agents followed the supplier to the Mission hotel, then pulled him over in a traffic stop after he/she left the hotel. He/she allegedly told officers that Gonzalez-Jimenez, who had a room at the hotel, was supposed to obtain methamphetamine for him to sell to the cooperating defendant. However, the affidavit says, Gonzalez-Jimenez was “cleaning” the methamphetamine so it wouldn’t be available until the following day. “Cleaning” methamphetamine involves using dangerous and flammable chemicals, including acetone.

When agents knocked on the door of the hotel room, Garcia-Miranda opened the door but attempted to slam it shut as soon as he realized they were law enforcement officers. Agents prevented the door from being shut and detected a strong acetone odor coming from inside the room. A large quantity of methamphetamine was in the process of being “cleaned” in the hotel room, the affidavit says. Agents also observed acetone being heated on the stove and a lit candle. Certified decontamination agents removed the toxic fumes from the room to protect the agents and hotel guests.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stefan C. Hughes. They were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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