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Man Sentenced To 24 Years In Prison For Distribution Of Methamphetamine In Reno Area

         RENO, Nev. - A California man who led a group of individuals selling methamphetamine in the Reno area, has been sentenced to 24 years in prison and five years of supervised release for his conviction on federal drug trafficking charges, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.   

Antonio Casares-Cuevas, 30, of San Jose, Calif., was sentenced on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, by Senior U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks.  Casares-Cuevas pleaded guilty in May 2013, to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine. 

According to the court filings, Casares-Cuevas lived in San Jose, Calif. and made frequent trips to Reno, Nev. where he supplied persons with methamphetamine for distribution.  Co-defendants Mario Perez, Javier Zaragoza, and Tony Berliner lived in Reno and either distributed methamphetamine or arranged methamphetamine transactions for Casares-Cuevas.

On Jan. 5, Feb. 22, and March 7, 2012, at Casares-Cuevas’ direction, Perez and Zaragoza sold a total of about 5½ ounces of methamphetamine to a person in Reno, who, unbeknownst to them, was a confidential source working with the DEA. The government then obtained a court order authorizing a wiretap of Casares-Cuevas’ cellular telephone.  Intercepted calls revealed Casares-Cuevas’ arrangement to pick up a supply of methamphetamine from co-defendant Armando Romero at his residence in Sacramento, Calif. on April 4, 2012.  On April 4, 2012, Casares-Cuevas picked up the methamphetamine and was later pulled over by California Highway Patrol Officers as he was driving on Highway 99 near the Sacramento and San Joaquin County line.  The officers recovered almost two pounds of pure methamphetamine from his vehicle. 

Also on April 4, 2012, agents executed a federal search warrant at Casares-Cuevas’ home in San Jose, where Casares-Cuevas resided with co-defendant Leonela Urbina, and recovered more than six ounces of methamphetamine from a shed and $13,738 in cash from his bedroom.  Federal search warrants were also executed at two homes in Reno where Zaragoza and Perez resided, and from those homes, agents recovered over five more ounces of methamphetamine.  A state search warrant was executed at Romero’s residence, where officers recovered approximately 1½ pounds of pure methamphetamine.

 Co-defendants Armando Romero, Mario Perez, Javier Zaragoza, Leonela Urbina, and Tony Berliner, also pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and were sentenced to prison terms of between three and 10 years. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James E. Keller and investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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