KANSAS CITY, KAN. - A Mexican citizen unlawfully in the United States was sentenced Monday to 420 months for drug trafficking, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said.
In July 2016, a federal court jury found Juan Antonio Herrera-Zamora, 33, guilty on one count of attempted possession with intent to sell methamphetamine, one count of possession with intent to sell methamphetamine and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
During trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Herrera-Zamora gave instructions via telephone to two men who drove 26 pounds of methamphetamine to Kansas from Oklahoma hidden in a spare tire of their car.
Herrera-Zamora met the men at a Super 8 in Lenexa. His girlfriend accompanied him and there was a baby in the backseat of his car. He hid a gun in the baby’s diaper bag. He took the keys to the car and drove it to a tire shop in Kansas City, Kan., where the tire was removed and cut open. He was arrested at that location.
Herrera-Zamora filed a sentencing memorandum seeking a lesser sentence and citing his upbringing in Guasave, Sinaloa, Mexico. “Mr. Herrera-Zamora comes from a low-income background and realized a great accomplishment by coming to this country when he was about thirteen years old,” the memo said.
Prosecutors cited Herrera-Zamora’s criminal record, starting with a conviction at 17 on two counts of theft and a later drug conviction, followed by twice being deported.
Beall commended the Drug Enforcement and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Zabel for their work on the case.