News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2006

Mexican Man Pleads Guilty to Meth Conspiracy

FEB 10 -- SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI: Preston L. Grubbs, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division Office, and Todd P. Graves, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Mexican national residing in Webb City, Missouri, has pleaded guilty in federal court to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Jasper County, Missouri.

This conviction is the result of Operation Lucky Charm, a joint investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies into a large quantity of methamphetamine being distributed in southwest Missouri.

Polo Hinojosa-Garcia , 25, a citizen of Mexico residing in Webb City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge James C. England on Monday to the charge contained in a September 22, 2005, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty, Hinojosa-Garcia admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine from August 4 to August 30, 2005, in Jasper County. Hinojosa-Garcia admitted that, on four separate occasions in August 2005, he delivered methamphetamine for the organization to an undercover law enforcement officer. More than 150 grams of methamphetamine is attributable to Hinojosa-Garcia .

Hinojosa-Garcia is the seventh defendant to plead guilty to charges arising from Operation Lucky Charm.

Carlos Mulgado, 37, Raul Alberto-Guerrero , 31, and Israel Sanchez-Mendosa, also known as Geronimo Velasquez-Gomez, 29, all citizens of Mexico residing in Carthage, Missouri, and Armando Figueroa-Dominguez , 31, a citizen of Mexico residing in of Rogers, Arkansas, pleaded guilty to their roles in the methamphetamine conspiracy on February 2, 2006. Noel Fonseca-Garcia, 21, a citizen of Mexico residing in Pittsburgh, Kansas, pleaded guilty on January 26, 2006, to his role in the methamphetamine conspiracy.

Sanchez-Mendosa also pleaded guilty to being in possession with the intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine on Aug. 11, 2005, in Jasper County. On August 11 and 12, 2005, law enforcement officers seized from Sanchez-Mendosa $12,369, which was derived from the sale of methamphetamine and which has been administratively forfeited to the government. Figueroa-Dominguez also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting another person to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of methamphetamine on August 30, 2005, in Jasper County.

Under federal statutes, each of the co-conspirators could be subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $4 million. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of pre-sentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

In a separate but related case, Isaac Alberto-Guerrero , 28, a citizen of Mexico living in Carthage, pleaded guilty on February 2, 2006, to the charges contained in a separate federal indictment that was also returned on September 22, 2005, as a result of Operation Lucky Charm.

Isaac Alberto-Guerrero admitted that he was an illegal alien from Mexico while in possession of a Hi-Point Firearms 9 mm pistol and 44 rounds of ammunition on August 17, 2005, at his residence in Carthage. Under federal law, Graves explained, it is illegal for anyone who is an alien unlawfully in the United States to be in possession of a firearm. Under federal statutes, Isaac Alberto-Guerrero could be subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of pre-sentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Weber Dean. They were investigated by  the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Jasper County Drug Task Force and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

Requests for additional information should be directed to Group Supervisor Alan Wilson or Public Information Officer Special Agent Shirley Armstead at 314-538-4600.