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Press Release

Sioux City Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Meth and Firearm Convictions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Unlawful drug user caught with four pounds of meth and two guns

A man that conspired to distribute methamphetamine and illegally possessed firearms was sentenced November 10, 2021, in federal court in Sioux City.

Diego Ayala, 31, from Sioux City, Iowa, pled guilty on July 15, 2021, to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of distribution of methamphetamine, and one count of a prohibited person in possession of firearms.

At the plea and sentencing hearings, evidence showed that from between September 2020 and continuing to on or about January 7, 2021, Ayala and others conspired to distribute more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine. Over the course of several weeks, in four separate transactions, one out-of-state source transported and sold more than ten pounds of methamphetamine to Ayala in Sioux City for further distribution.    Another out-of-state source transported and sold more than five pounds of methamphetamine to Ayala for further distribution.  On January 7, 2021, law enforcement conducted a controlled purchase of one pound of methamphetamine from Ayala.  Subsequently, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Ayala’s residence and seized four more pounds of methamphetamine and two guns, an unloaded 9mm handgun and a loaded MP-15, assault style rifle.  Law enforcement also seized 68 rounds of .380 caliber ammunition, 84 rounds of 9mm caliber ammunition, and 120 rounds of 5.56 ammunition from several different locations in Ayala’s residence.  Ayala admitted he planned on distributing the methamphetamine seized to other persons.  Ayala also admitted to being an unlawful user of methamphetamine while in possession of firearms.

Sentencing was held before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Ayala was sentenced to 90 months’ imprisonment and must serve three years of supervised release following the imprisonment.  Ayala remains in custody of the United States Marshal until he can be transported to a federal prison. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by 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. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 21-4002.  Follow us on Twitter @USAO_NDIA.

Updated November 12, 2021

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