Acting United States Attorney Bob Murray today announced that JOSE LUIS URREA, 35 from Tucson, Arizona, and MARIO VERA-SANDOVAL, 51, from Cananea, Sonora, Mexico were convicted and sentenced by Federal District Court Alan B. Johnson for their involvement in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Urrea was sentenced to 63 months. Vera-Sandoval was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment followed by 5 years of surveillance, and was convicted of illegal entry into the United States, for which he received a time served sentence.
On August 14, 2020, the defendants were arrested by the Wyoming Highway Patrol (WHP) in Sweetwater County for a routine traffic stop. After the vehicle stopped, the two passengers quickly exited the vehicle and began to aggressively check the tires and could not give a definitive answer as to their travel plans. During questioning, Urrea admitted that he believed there was something illegal in a backpack that the soldier observed in the car. The soldier requested permission to search the vehicle, which resulted in law enforcement finding a large amount of methamphetamine, totaling 2,331.8 grams (approximately 5 pounds) inside the backpack. Urrea said he was paid $ 3,000 to deliver the backpack to strangers in another state. Vera-Sandoval knew the reason for the trip was to carry methamphetamine, and law enforcement discovered he was in the United States illegally. The two defendants were taken into police custody.
Special agents from the Criminal Investigation Division (DCI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) further questioned the defendants and gathered enough evidence via their phones, dash camera footage and their own confessions for the accused. charge of possession with the intention of distributing control substance.
“We know that the interstate system is widely used by traffickers,” said criminal chief Nicole Romine. “This is why state agencies and local law enforcement in communities along highways, along with federal partners, are working collectively to prosecute and prosecute this type of criminal conduct. Simply put, we will not tolerate the use of our interstate system to transport drugs to or through the state of Wyoming. “
“On behalf of the DEA, I want to salute the keen eye of the Wyoming Highway Patrol soldiers who made this important seizure,” said Deanne Reuter, special agent in charge of the DEA Denver Field Division. “Officers like these are the real force multiplier in the fight against the trafficking of these dangerous drugs. “
This crime was investigated by the WHP, DCI and DEA. The drug-related charges were prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Stephanie I. Sprecher and the illegal immigration charges were prosecuted by Jonathan Coppom.