News and Press Releases

Methamphetamine Dealer Sentenced To 30 Years In Federal Prison

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2006

Las Vegas, Nev. – An illegal alien convicted by a federal jury in December of conspiring to distribute approximately 20 pounds of pure methamphetamine in Las Vegas has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

MANUEL HARA, aka Daniel Martinez, aka Pelon, age 32, of North Las Vegas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson on Friday, March 3, 2006, to 360 months in prison for his convictions on one count of Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, one count of Attempted Possession With Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, and one count of Illegal Alien in Possession of a Firearm.

HARA and co-defendants Eddie LNU (last name unknown), Raul Rodriguez, Alfredo Zuniga-Lopez, and Adolfo Mejia-Martinez were originally indicted on May 26, 2004, and charged with Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance. HARA was convicted following a five-day jury trial in December 2005. The co-defendants, with the exception of Eddie LNU who is a fugitive, all pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to periods of imprisonment.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that HARA, who is an illegal alien from Mexico, was the leader of a multi-pound methamphetamine drug trafficking organization in Southern Nevada, and that HARA received his methamphetamine directly from a Mexican drug trafficking organization that utilized sophisticated hidden compartments in cars to transport the methamphetamine to Southern Nevada. Co-defendants Zuniga-Lopez and Mejia-Martinez were responsible for delivering cocaine from Mexico to Las Vegas for the Mexican drug trafficking organization.

On May 12, 2004, investigating agents learned that an individual residing in Mexico, Eddie LNU (last name unknown) agreed to sell HARA multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine at $7,300 per pound. On the same date, the agents learned that unidentified individuals agreed to deliver the methamphetamine to HARA in Las Vegas. These individuals, later identified as co-defendants Zuniga-Lopez and Mejia-Martinez, drove a vehicle with Mexican license plates across the San Ysidro, California border crossing to Southern Nevada.

Agents monitored HARA's home at 5444 Roaring Surf Drive in North Las Vegas, and observed HARA and co-defendant Raul Rodriguez leave the home and meet the car driven by Zuniga-Lopez and Mejia-Martinez at a grocery store in North Las Vegas. Both vehicles departed the area, and a Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle with the Mexican plates. A search of the vehicle revealed a sophisticated hidden compartment with 20 packages containing 8.7 kilograms of actual methamphetamine with a 99 percent purity level. The methamphetamine was packaged in cardboard boxes in order to preserve the "crystal" like appearance of the methamphetamine, which improves its marketability. A short distance away, agents arrested HARA and Rodriguez.

The next day, May 13, 2004, a search warrant was executed at HARA's residence at Roaring Surf Drive. Agents recovered a money counter, electronic scale, drug accounting sheets, $8,000 in U.S. currency, a $60,000 cashiers check, three handguns, and a camouflage flak jacket.

This case was developed and investigated by the Southern Nevada Major Drug Trafficking Organization Task Force, one of seven High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The Southern Nevada HIDTA became operational in 2001, and is comprised of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies which combine resources to combat drug-related crime. The other six Southern Nevada HIDTA initiatives are: the Clark County Gang Task Force; the Methamphetamine Task Force; the Club Drug Task Force; the Drug Interdiction Task Force; the Money Laundering and Asset Removal Task Force; and the Nevada Fugitive Investigative Strike Team (NV FIST). This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Walsh and Ray Gattinella.

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