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Justice News

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

Monday, January 9, 2017

Final defendant in California-to-West Virginia drug conspiracy pleads guilty

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The final defendant charged in a California-to-West Virginia methamphetamine conspiracy pleaded guilty today, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Miguel Alejandro Robles-Ibarra, 30, a Mexican national, entered his guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

Robles-Ibarra admitted that from February 2016 to March 19, 2016, he was involved in a drug conspiracy with multiple individuals. Robles-Ibarra also admitted that near the end of February 2016, he helped package ten pound of crystal methamphetamine in a spare tire in the trunk of a vehicle for transport to Kentucky. Two females involved in the conspiracy drove the vehicle from California to meet Brian Ashby, a codefendant residing in Charleston who traveled to Kentucky to pick up the drugs. Robles-Ibarra also admitted that he received a share of the money paid by Ashby for the drugs. Robles-Ibarra further admitted that in March 2016, he helped package another delivery to Ashby - ten pounds of crystal methamphetamine concealed in the spare tire of a vehicle, this time for transport from California to Huntington. Robles-Ibarra never received any money for the March drug shipment because he was arrested in West Virginia where he had traveled to pick up more money from Ashby. Law enforcement found a fingerprint matching Robles-Ibarra on the spare tire in which the methamphetamine was packaged.

This prosecution is the result of a multi-agency investigation that led to an eight-count indictment implicating several defendants, some of whom have already been sentenced to prison. Daniel Ortiz-Rivera, a Mexican national, was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. Kelly Newcomb, of Nevada, and Danielle Dessaray Estrada, of Los Angeles, were both sentenced to a year and a day in prison for interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime. Marco Antonio Bojorquez-Rojas, a Mexican national residing in California, was sentenced to a year and a half in prison for interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime.

Several of the defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. A woman who was used as a mule to transport methamphetamine, Cara Linn Monasmith, of Nevada, pleaded guilty to interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime. Additionally, as part of this conspiracy, Rafael Garcia Serrato, of Los Angeles, Cesar Garcia, also of Los Angeles, Velarian Sylvester Carter, of Beckley, Miguel Tafolla-Montoya, a Mexican national, and Ashby, of Kanawha County, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.

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. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., is presiding over these cases.

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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated January 9, 2017