KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A man from Overland Park, Kan., has pleaded guilty to helping a drug trafficking organization distribute more than $16.9 million worth of marijuana and cocaine in Kansas, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas announced today.
Samuel Villeareal, III, 33, Overland Park, Kan., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana and to maintain a residence in furtherance of drug trafficking. Villeareal was one of 43 defendants charged in a superseding indictment filed Oct. 31, 2011, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. An earlier indictment in the case had been announced July 12, 2012.
In his plea, Villeareal admitted that he bought pound quantities of marijuana from co-defendant Los Rovell Dahda and others, who were operating a marijuana and cocaine distribution ring in Lawrence, Kan. During the course of the conspiracy, the traffickers made more than $16.9 million dollars selling marijuana and cocaine. In 2007, the conspirators shifted away from buying drugs from Mexico and Canada and began obtaining high grade marijuana from indoor and outdoor grow operations in California. The marijuana would be purchased on the front end from California for between $1,800 and $2,800 a pound and then sold to others for between $3,500 to $4,800 a pound.
On May 16, 2011, investigators executed a search warrant at Villeareal's residence at 816 Crestline Drive in Lawrence, Kan. They seized $11,340 cash, four cellular phones and 44 grams of marijuana. Villeareal's residence was located within 1,000 feet of West Middle School. Investigators learned that Villeareal had removed 10 pounds of marijuana from the residence before the search warrant was served. A search of Villeareal's phones revealed text messages with numerous customers in Lawrence who Villearaeal was supplying with marijuana.
Sentencing will be set for a later date. Villeareal faces a penalty of not less than 10 years and not more than life and a fine up to $10 million.
Agencies involved in the investigation and the arrest of defendants include the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the Lawrence Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the Alameda County, Calif., Sheriff’s Drug Task Force, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Lenexa Police Department, the Overland Park Police Department, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department and the Hayward, Calif., Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead is prosecuting.
In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.