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Press Release

Iowa Man Sentenced to Prison for Meth Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Former California Vatos Locos Gang Member Distributed Over Three Pounds of Meth in Less Than a Year’s Time

A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine was sentenced May 9, 2018, to more than 10 years in federal prison.

Rafael Martinez, 34, from Kiron, Iowa, received the prison term after a March 22, 2017, guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

At the guilty plea, Martinez admitted that beginning in or about early 2015, and continuing to at least April 2016, he conspired with others to distribute at least 1,500 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine in the Carroll and Crawford County areas.  Martinez further admitted to distributing methamphetamine to an individual cooperating with law enforcement in October 2015.  Martinez relocated from California to Iowa in order to avoid contact with the Vatos Locos gang, of which he was a former member.

Martinez was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Martinez was sentenced to 126 months’ imprisonment.  He must also serve a 4-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.  Martinez is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and investigated by the Iowa Department of Narcotics Enforcement, Carroll, Iowa Police Department, Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Denison, Iowa Police Department, and Iowa Division of Criminalist Laboratory. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 16-3051.

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Updated May 10, 2018

Drug Trafficking