United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Esteban Chavez-Cruz, age 51, of Heron Lake, Minnesota, was found guilty of Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Methamphetamine as a result of a federal jury trial in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The trial began on August 12 and concluded on August 13, 2014.
The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in custody and/or a $10 million fine, a mandatory minimum of 5 years of supervised release up to life, and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Chavez-Cruz was indicted by a federal grand jury on February 4, 2014.
A search warrant was served on Chavez-Cruz’s Heron Lake residence on January 23, 2014. Approximately four pounds of crystal methamphetamine, approximately five pounds of marijuana, a stolen shotgun, other firearms and ammunition, and approximately $49,000 in cash were found in holes under the floorboards in the bedroom. Chavez-Cruz was selling methamphetamine to co-conspirators who sold it in South Dakota and elsewhere.
This case was investigated by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Jackson County, Minnesota Sheriff’s Office, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Haak and Jennifer D. Mammenga prosecuted the case.
A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for November 3, 2014. The defendant was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.