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Press Release

Dallas Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Nearly 20 Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
Officer Pursuit Ended When Defendant Drove into Mountain Creek Lake and Struck Boat

DALLAS — Iran Zavala, 28, of Dallas, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle to 235 months in federal prison, following his guilty plea in April 2016 to a felony Information charging one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. 

Zavala’s co-conspirator in the case, Santiago Veliz, 29, pleaded guilty in May 2016 to the same offense and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Boyle on October 6, 2016. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.

According to documents filed in the case, beginning in approximately June 2015, Zavala, Veliz and others agreed to distribute methamphetamine.  On approximately June 29, 2015, Zavala negotiated the sale of two kilograms of methamphetamine for $32,000 to a person he later learned was an undercover law enforcement officer.

A few days later, on July 2, 2015, Zavala and Veliz traveled to a gas station on N. Beltline Road in Grand Prairie, Texas, to distribute one kilogram of methamphetamine to a person Zavala believed to be customer.  They had both the methamphetamine and a firearm in their pickup truck.  However, prior to the drug transaction being completed, law enforcement in marked patrol cars attempted to pull over Zavala’s vehicle.  Rather than stop, Zavala fled in the truck at a high rate of speed, and during the chase, Zavala threw the methamphetamine out of the driver’s side window.  The firearm was thrown out of the passenger side window. 

At today’s sentencing hearing, testimony was presented that Zavala intentionally drove his pickup truck at a high rate of speed toward an officer with the Grand Prairie Police Department who was attempting to lay a spike strip in the road to deflate the tires on Zavala’s fleeing vehicle.  Zavala is charged in a pending Dallas County case with Aggravated Assault of a Public Servant.  

The pursuit ended when Zavala drove his vehicle into Mountain Creek Lake where it collided with a sailboat near the boat ramp.  Both Zavala and Veliz were arrested.  The firearm, a 9-milimeter semi-automatic pistol, was recovered and ordered forfeited to the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Grand Prairie Police Department investigated the case.  Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert was in charge of the prosecution. 

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Updated August 18, 2016

Drug Trafficking