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Press Release

Colorado Man Sentenced to 31 Years for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska

United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Jose O. Maes, 38, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was sentenced today in Lincoln, Nebraska, by Senior United States District Judge John M. Gerrard to 31 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture with a prior violent felony conviction.  Maes was convicted of the offense in November of 2022 after a three-day trial.  Following the prison term, Maes will serve 15 years on supervised release.  There is no parole in the federal system.

Testimony and evidence presented at trial showed between June of 2020 and February 12, 2021, Maes was involved in a methamphetamine distribution organization which transported multiple pounds of methamphetamine from the Colorado Springs, Colorado, area to the Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska/Council Bluffs, Iowa areas between the latter part of 2020 and February 12, 2022.

On February 11, 2022, investigators with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force saw Maes meet with two co-conspirators at the Horseshoe Casino in Council Bluffs. The three were engaged in what appeared to be the transfer of drugs in the casino parking garage.  Shortly thereafter, an exchange of cash occurred at a nearby gas station.  Later that evening, the two co-conspirators, driving separate vehicles, were stopped on westbound Interstate 80 on their way back to Lincoln by the Nebraska State Patrol.  Both vehicles were searched, and a total of approximately four pounds of methamphetamine, numerous fentanyl pills, two handguns and $5,000 in cash were found.

As a result of these stops and searches, Iowa investigators were told Maes was believed to have returned to the casinos and was likely in possession of methamphetamine, cash and a firearm.  Around 2:30 a.m. on February 12, 2022, an investigator from the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and a Council Bluffs Police Officer found Maes’s car in the Harrah’s Casino parking garage.  Maes evaded efforts to contact him.  This resulted in a pursuit involving multiple law enforcement agencies which ended approximately 30 miles away in a rural area of Pottawattamie County, Iowa.  A search of Maes’s car resulted in the seizure of ¼ ounce of methamphetamine, a few fentanyl pills, a loaded handgun with an extended magazine and more than $34,153 in cash.  That cash was later forfeited to the United States of America by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

This case was investigated by the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force, the Nebraska State Patrol, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Iowa Division of Intelligence, the Council Bluffs Police Department, the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department, the Iowa State Patrol, the Omaha Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Susan Lehr – First Assistant U.S. Attorney; Chief, Drug Enforcement Unit (402) 661-3700

Updated March 23, 2023