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Press Release

Lead Defendant Sentenced To 14 Years In Prison For Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy

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

RENO, Nev. – The lead defendant in a large drug trafficking ring was sentenced today to 14 years in prison, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Division.

Jose Valentin Mora, aka Cholo and Magic, 38, of Reno, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. In a separate case, Mora pleaded guilty to one count of felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, from January 25, 2018 to about June 14, 2018, Mora and his co-conspirators worked together to possess and distribute large amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in Reno and elsewhere. On several occasions, Mora sold the drugs to his co-conspirators, who would then resell the drugs in Reno. Law enforcement seized over 12 pounds of methamphetamine from the drug trafficking ring.

On June 14, 2018, during the execution of a search warrant, investigators recovered a Bersa Thunder .380 caliber pistol in Mora’s dresser drawer. Mora is a felon with a conviction in Washoe County for trafficking in a controlled substance. Accordingly, he is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Chief Judge Miranda M. Du sentenced Mora to five years of supervised release.

Sixteen other co-defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the drug trafficking ring. With the exception of one defendant who remains a fugitive, each of those co-defendants pleaded guilty and either has been sentenced or is awaiting imposition of sentence.  Mora’s co-defendants, whose guilty pleas correspond to the various roles they played in this drug conspiracy, face a maximum penalty of between four years and life in prison.

This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force with significant assistance by federal, state, and local law enforcement partners including the Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department, and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Keller and Andolyn Johnson are prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of its renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime. For more information about PSN, visit


Updated April 18, 2023

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods