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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ten Individuals Sentenced in Methamphetamine Conspiracy

Six men and four women responsible for distributing hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine were sentenced earlier this week to various federal prison terms.

Mario Murillo-Mora, 41, from Michoacán, Mexico, received a 262-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Jeff Richardson, 50, from Cambridge, Iowa, received a 262-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Austin Bertch, 31, from Waterloo, Iowa, received a 176-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Gustavo Gonzalez-Torres, 26, from Marshalltown, Iowa, received a 168-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Rafael Avalos-Castellanos, 41, from Michoacán, Mexico, received a 147-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Jason Gauthier, 41, from Marshalltown, Iowa, received a 113-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Rachel Berrones, 26, from Marshalltown, Iowa, received a 105-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Vania Guadarrama, 30, from Chicago, Illinois, received a 78-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Jessica Ceniceros, 26, from Marshalltown, Iowa, received a 71-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Ragan Victor, 34, from Marshalltown, Iowa, received a 43-month term of imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Evidence at the guilty pleas and other court proceedings showed that in the Spring of 2013, Mario Murillo Mora began building a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing multiple pounds of ice methamphetamine, a highly pure, crystalized form of methamphetamine, throughout Northern Iowa.  At least 250 pounds of ice methamphetamine was distributed by various members of the organization during the course of the conspiracy.  Murillo Mora recruited various individuals to assist with transporting, storing, and distributing ice methamphetamine, as well as collecting money and wiring drug proceeds back to sources of supply.  Other individuals obtained ice methamphetamine from Murillo Mora in pound to multiple pound quantities for redistribution to a network of retail level customers.  Methamphetamine arrived in Marshalltown from Mexico and California concealed in vehicles.  Once transported to Marshalltown, the methamphetamine was broken down and repackaged for further distribution.    

All defendants were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.  A special assessment of $100 to $200 was imposed on all defendants and they must also each serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lisa C. Williams as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force consisting of the DEA; the Linn County Sheriff's Office; the Cedar Rapids Police Department; the Marion Police Department; the Iowa City Police Department; and the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; the Mid-Iowa Task Force, comprised of the Marshalltown Police Department, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, Tama County Sheriff’s Office, Grundy County Sheriff’s Office, Hardin County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa Falls Police Department, Eldora Police Department and the Dysart Police Department; and the Tri-County Drug Task Force, comprised of the Waterloo Police Department, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office, Cedar Falls Police Department, LaPorte City Police Department, Hudson Police Department, Evansdale Police Department, University of Northern Iowa Police Department, Waverly Police Department and the Bremer County Sheriff’s Office. 

Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. 

The case file number is 15-cr-2015.

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated August 25, 2016