OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
FEBRUARY 19, 2010
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JURY CONVICTS MAN, WOMAN
OF METH CONSPIRACY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Honduran man and a Guatemalan woman have been convicted by a federal jury of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
Jose Cortes, 36, a citizen of Honduras who was residing in Independence, Mo., and Claudia M. Loaiza, 37, of Kansas City, Mo., a permanent resident alien from Guatemala, were found guilty on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2010, of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine between December 2007 and July 8, 2008, and of being in possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute on July 8, 2008. Cortes was also found guilty of distributing methamphetamine and illegally reentering the United States after having been deported.
A confidential informant purchased 15 grams of methamphetamine for $700 from Cortes on July 3, 2008, during a controlled drug buy. On July 7, 2008, Kansas City police officers executed a search warrant at Cortes’ residence. During the search, officers found Cortes and Loaiza in the living room; officers recovered methamphetamine from various places throughout the residence.
The confidential informant testified during the trial that he had been purchasing methamphetamine from Cortes and Loaiza since December 2007.
The court will determine at a later date whether Cortes and Loiaza must forfeit $24,940 to the government, which was seized from their residence by law enforcement officers.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City deliberated less than four hours before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge David Kays, ending a trial that began Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010.
Under federal statutes, Cortes and Loaiza are each subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Davids and Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg Coonrod. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Independence, Mo., Police Department.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at