Jackson, Miss. – Edgar Leonel Soto-Leon, 31, an illegal alien from Mexico, and Matthew Williams, 32, of Jones County, Mississippi, pled guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate to conspiracy to distribute 2.6 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.1 pounds of heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley.
“These unconscionable actions of dealing drugs near a children’s hospital after coming to this country illegally necessitate swift consequences, for which I applaud our DEA agents and prosecutors for bringing these criminals to justice. We will continue to be vigilant in protecting our children and citizens by holding accountable those who violate our laws and endanger our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.
Sometime around May 1, 2019, Williams and Soto-Leon reached an agreement to distribute heroin and methamphetamine. To assist Soto-Leon, Williams made contact with one or more individuals in order to find a buyer for illegal drugs in the possession of Soto-Leon. Through these contacts by Williams, a buyer was identified. Williams spoke directly to the buyer and stated that Soto-Leon was in possession of approximately 3 pounds of methamphetamine known as “ICE” and one kilogram of heroin that he was trying to sell. Williams connected the buyer to Soto-Leon, who began communicating directly with the buyer. Soto-Leon and the buyer reached an agreement on the price for all of the methamphetamine and heroin.
Unknown to either Williams or Soto-Leon, the buyer was actually an undercover DEA officer who made an audio recording of his conversations with Williams and Soto-Leon.
On May 2, 2019, Soto-Leon and the buyer met at a location near the Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson where Soto-Leon provided the buyer with methamphetamine and heroin. Williams had assisted the buyer and Soto-Leon by giving them directions to the place where they met. Lab tests later confirmed that Soto-Leon had provided 414.7 grams of methamphetamine which was 99% pure and 424.2 grams of heroin. Soto-Leon and the buyer agreed to meet the next day, when Soto-Leon would provide even more methamphetamine and heroin.
On May 3, 2019, Soto-Leon and the buyer met at a location in Pearl, Mississippi, where Soto-Leon again gave the buyer methamphetamine and heroin. Lab tests later confirmed that Soto-Leon had provided 772.4 grams of methamphetamine which was 98% pure and two containers of heroin containing 344.6 grams heroin and 228.8 grams of heroin. Once the second batch of controlled substances were given to the buyer, law enforcement immediately arrested Soto-Leon. Williams was arrested a few days later.
In total, Soto-Leon and Williams conspired to sell and sold 2.6 pounds of methamphetamine and 2.1 pounds of heroin to the undercover DEA officer. The methamphetamine sold is a type of methamphetamine known as “ICE” due to its purity.
Soto-Leon and Williams will be sentenced by Judge Wingate on February 11, 2020. Both defendants face a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, followed by 5 years of supervised release, and up to a $10,000,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the DEA, the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department, the Pearl Police Department, and the Richland Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dave Fulcher.