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Press Release

California Man Pleads Guilty to Methamphetamine Conspiracy Caught Transporting 10 Pounds of Meth to Iowa

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

A California man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine in Iowa pled guilty on September 17, 2020, in federal court in Sioux City.

Gabriel Mata-Becerra, 37, from Hayward, California, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

At the plea hearing, Mata-Becerra admitted that beginning on or about March 2019 and continuing to on or about May 2019, he and others had an agreement to distribute more than 50 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine.  In furtherance of that agreement, on or about April 21, 2019, Mata-Becerra was traffic stopped in Wyoming and law enforcement seized approximately ten pounds of ice methamphetamine from inside an unconnected speaker box in the trunk of his vehicle.  Mata-Becerra further admitted that he had acquired the methamphetamine in California and was traveling from California to Hawarden, Iowa to deliver the methamphetamine to another person.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared.  Mata-Becerra remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing.  Mata-Becerra faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $10,000,000 fine, and at least 5 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by the Tri-State Drug Task Force based in Sioux City, Iowa, that consists of law enforcement personnel from the Drug Enforcement Administration; Sioux City, Iowa, Police Department; Homeland Security Investigations; Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office; South Sioux City, Nebraska, Police Department; Nebraska State Patrol; Iowa National Guard; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; United States Marshals Service; South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; and Woodbury County Attorney’s Office; the Wyoming State Patrol; and Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations.  

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-4054.  Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated September 22, 2020

Drug Trafficking