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Press Release

Belmond Man Sentenced to a Decade in Federal Prison for Meth Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Received more than ten pounds of meth by mail and vehicle transport from Mexico

A man who received methamphetamine by mail from Mexico to redistribute was sentenced August 27, 2021 to ten years in federal prison. 

Rafael Perez-Mercado, 29, from Belmond, Iowa, pled guilty in federal court on April 16, 2021, to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.  During the investigation, it was also determined that Perez-Mercado was in the United States illegally.

Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings showed that between September 2020 and October 22, 2020, Perez-Mercado and others were responsible for the distribution of over ten pounds of methamphetamine in the Wright County, Iowa, area.  On October 8, 2020, law enforcement intercepted a package mailed from Mexico.  The package had two pounds of methamphetamine concealed inside, destined to be delivered to Perez-Mercado.  On October 22, 2020, law enforcement, using a confidential informant, made a controlled delivery of the package to Perez-Mercado at his home.  Thereafter, one law enforcement agent captured Perez-Mercado exiting the rear door of his house as another agent attempted to make contact with him at the front door.  Law enforcement agents seized nine packages of methamphetamine, each weighing one pound, from a bag Perez-Mercado was carrying as he exited the residence.  Later that same day, during the execution of a search warrant at Perez-Mercado’s residence, law enforcement seized two more one-pound packages of methamphetamine that had been hidden inside a statue which was inside the package delivered to Perez-Mercado.  Law enforcement also found other evidence of methamphetamine smuggling, including inside motor vehicle components, in Perez-Mercado’s garage.

Sentencing was held before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Perez-Mercado remains in custody of the United States Marshal until he can be transported to a federal prison.  Perez-Mercado was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment and must serve a five-year term of supervised release following the imprisonment.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the Wright County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Eagle Grove Police Department, and the Dows Police Department.

Court file information at

The case file number is 20-3047.  Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated August 30, 2021

Drug Trafficking