Three Drug Traffickers Sentenced to 48 Years After Striking Police Vehicle
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
Three drug traffickers who attempted to run a sheriff’s office vehicle off the road have been sentenced to a combined 48 years in federal prison, announce U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Kyle Willeke, 31, pleaded guilty in November 2021 to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk to 20 years in federal prison. His coconspirator, Ricardo Rodriguez, 35, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced on Wednesday to 20 years in federal prison. Monique Derau, 26, pleaded guilty in November 2021 to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and misprison of a felony and was sentenced Wednesday to eight years in federal prison.
According to plea papers, on Aug. 19, 2021, a Potter County Sheriff’s Office deputy attempted to pull over a Toyota Rav4 for a traffic violation. The deputy activated his lights, but a Nissan Infiniti struck his patrol car, causing the vehicle to spin out of control. Both the Rav4 and the Infiniti continued without stopping following the collision.
Law enforcement later identified the diver of the Rav4 as Ricardo Rodriguez, the driver of the Infiniti as Monique Derau, and the passenger who grabbed the wheel of the Infiniti to strike the deputy’s vehicle as Kyle Willeke.
Officers traced Ms. Derau’s phone and located her traveling east on Interstate 40 in a rental car. They stopped the vehicle, which at that point was carrying Ms. Derau, Mr. Rodriguez, and Mr. Willeke.
During a safety sweep of Ms. Derau’s rental, they found a box containing seven bags of methamphetamine weighing approximately 7.57 kilograms. Ms. Derau later told HSI agents that the drugs belonged to Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Willeke. When asked about their travel plans, she changed her story several times.
Homeland Security Investigations’ Dallas Field Division and the Potter County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s South Central Laboratory. Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Fausto prosecuted the case.
Updated April 8, 2022