Men Plead Guilty to Distributing Two Pounds of Pure Methamphetamine in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nev. – Four men have pleaded guilty to participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy involving the sale of approximately two pounds of pure methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $37,000, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Raymundo Arias-Ceja, 36; Juan Carlos Nunez-Romero, 27; Daniel Castaneda-Martinez, 40; and Jose Ramirez-Alvarez, 31, all of Las Vegas, Nevada, pleaded guilty this week to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. A jury trial in the case began on Monday, September 28, 2009, before U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. Defendant Ramirez-Alvarez pleaded guilty to the indictment on Monday, immediately following jury selection. Defendants Nunez Romero, Arias-Ceja, and Castaneda-Martinez pleaded guilty on Wednesday, September 30, 2009, during trial. The defendants were originally indicted on the charges in December 2008.
In November 2008, an individual who was cooperating with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), negotiated the purchase of two pounds of methamphetamine for $37,000. On December 4, 2008, at 11:30 a.m., near James Street and Kaibab Avenue in Las Vegas, during a controlled purchase monitored by law enforcement, the defendants produced approximately two pounds of 99.5% pure methamphetamine wrapped in two plastic bags. A subsequent search of a vehicle driven by defendants Arias-Ceja and Nunez-Romero revealed a non-factory compartment in the glove-box area of the vehicle that contained approximately $3,000 in United States currency. A second vehicle driven by defendant Castanada-Martinez rammed a DEA agent's truck in an apparent attempt to avoid apprehension. The passenger of that vehicle, defendant Ramirez-Alvarez, fled on foot after throwing the bag which contained the methamphetamine. He was apprehended after a brief foot pursuit.
Defendant Ramirez-Alvarez is scheduled to be sentenced on January 11, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. The other three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on January 12, 2010, beginning at 10:00 a.m. They face up to life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million.
The case was investigated by the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and detectives and task force officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bradley W. Giles and Patrick Walsh.