Indictment: Officer Takes Delivery Driver's Place To Break Up Three-Pound Meth Deal
WICHITA, KAN. – Two Wichita men have been charged with drug trafficking after a Wichita police officer posed as a delivery driver at a meeting in which three pounds of methamphetamine were to change hands, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.
Michael Ortega-Alvarez, 45, Wichita, Kan., and Manuel Bencomo-Rodriguez, 47, were charged Wednesday with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. It is alleged Wichita police stopped Ortega-Alvarez for a traffic violation on May 6, 2014. They found approximately three pounds of methamphetamine in his vehicle. When investigators learned Ortega-Alvarez was on his way to make a delivery to a man he didn’t know, an officer working undercover took his place.
Using Ortega-Alvarez’s phone, the officer received instructions to drive to a convenience store at 31st and Hillside and wait for a man in a blue car. Bencomo-Rodriguez arrived driving a blue Chevrolet Lumina. He led the officer to another location, after which they returned to the convenience store and Bencomo-Rodriguez was arrested.
If convicted, the defendants face a penalty of not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million. The Wichita Police Department investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Jacobs is prosecuting.
Juan Antonio Herrera-Zamora, 30, and Jose Guadalupe Montoya-Valenzuela, 42, are charged with one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. In addition Herrera-Zamora is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The crimes are alleged to have occurred April 17, 2014, in Kansas City, Kan.
Upon conviction, the crimes carry the following penalties:
Attempted possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine: Not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million.
Possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000.
The Kansas City International Airport Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Kansas City Interdiction Task Force investigated. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Tomasic is prosecuting.
Clarence Smith, III, 31, is charged with failing to register as required by the Sex Offender Registration Act. The crime is alleged to have occurred March 1, 2013, in Wyandotte County, Kan.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The U.S. Marshals Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Martin is prosecuting.
Jose Pesina Lopez, 61, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported. He was found May 2, 2014, in Sedgwick County, Kan.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Homeland Security Investigations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.