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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine Resulting in Death

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

DAVENPORT, Iowa – A Long Beach, California man was sentenced on July 21, 2023 to 12 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine resulting in the death of a victim.

According to public court documents, Ray Bustamante, 61, conspired with Dr. John Robert Muriello and Eric Hojka, both of Iowa City, and others, to obtain and distribute methamphetamine. An investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service revealed that since early 2020, Bustamante mailed packages of methamphetamine to people he met online. In March 2021, a parcel, mailed by Bustamante, was intercepted by Postal Inspectors and found to contain approximately 137 grams of “ice” methamphetamine.

In a separate investigation in May 2021, first responders were dispatched to Hojka’s Iowa City apartment for a report of an unconscious victim, who was later pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed the victim ingested methamphetamine which caused his death. It was later determined that the methamphetamine ingested by the victim originated from Bustamante and was sent to Dr. John Robert Muriello and Eric Hojka in Iowa City for distribution.

After his prison term, Bustamante was ordered to serve a five-year term of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Iowa City Police Department.


MacKenzie Tubbs
Public Information Officer 

Updated July 27, 2023

Drug Trafficking