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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of West Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Another meth mule pleads guilty for role in California-to-West Virginia drug conspiracy

Law enforcement seized over 2,200 grams of 98% pure methamphetamine during the course of defendant’s arrest

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A California woman caught transporting a significant amount of crystal methamphetamine from California to West Virginia pleaded guilty today to a federal drug charge, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Rachel Arlene Garay, 18, of Indio, entered her guilty plea to interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime.

Garay admitted that in March 2016, she and Danielle Dessaray Estrada, a codefendant, drove from Los Angeles to West Virginia with approximately five pounds of crystal methamphetamine. Garay also admitted that she maintained contact with codefendants Cesar Garcia and Rafael Garcia Serrato to find out instructions on where to deliver the drugs. Garay additionally admitted that on March 26, 2016, she and Estrada arrived in West Virginia and Garay removed the drugs from a hiding place in the vehicle and placed the drugs into a bag for delivery. Shortly after Garay moved the drugs, law enforcement officers in South Charleston stopped the vehicle and arrested Garay and Estrada. During the course of the arrest, law enforcement seized over 2,200 grams of methamphetamine which was later analyzed and had a substance purity level of 98%.

Garay faces up to five years in federal prison when she is sentenced on December 15, 2016.

This prosecution is the result of a multi-agency investigation that led to an eight-count indictment implicating 14 defendants, including Garay. All of Garay’s codefendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. Three other women who were used as mules to transport methamphetamine, Danielle Dessaray Estrada, of Los Angeles, Kelly Newcomb, of Nevada, and Cara Linn Monasmith, also of Nevada, pleaded guilty to interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime. Estrada and Newcomb are scheduled to be sentenced on October 6, 2016. Monasmith is scheduled to be sentenced on November 8, 2016. Additionally, as part of this conspiracy, Rafael Garcia Serrato, of Los Angeles, Cesar Garcia, also of Los Angeles, Daniel Ortiz-Rivera, a Mexican national, Velarian Sylvester Carter, of Beckley, Miguel Tafolla-Montoya, a Mexican national, and Brian Ashby, of Kanawha County, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Serrato and Garcia are scheduled to be sentenced on December 6, 2016. Ortiz-Rivera is scheduled to be sentenced on October 11, 2016. Carter is scheduled to be sentenced on October 13, 2016. Tafolla-Montoya is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2016. Ashby is scheduled to be sentenced on December 13, 2016. Also, as part of this conspiracy, Marco Antonio Bojorquez-Rojas, a Mexican national, pleaded guilty to interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime, and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 7, 2016.

The FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Charleston Police Department, and the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer Rada Herrald is in charge of these prosecutions. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr.

These cases are being prosecuted as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat the illicit sale and misuse of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, joined by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, is committed to aggressively pursuing and shutting down pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated September 20, 2016