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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 10, 2017

Mexican national sentenced to nearly 11 years in federal prison for role in California-to-West Virginia drug conspiracy

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Mexican national was sentenced today to 10 years and 11 months in federal prison for his role in a California-to-West Virginia methamphetamine conspiracy, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Miguel Tafolla-Montoya, 31, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Tafolla-Montoya admitted that on March 19, 2016, he arrived in Huntington after traveling from California to pick up money for a delivery of crystal methamphetamine. Some of Tafolla-Montoya’s codefendants had previously driven approximately 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine from California to Huntington for delivery. Tafolla-Montoya further admitted that he had helped conceal the drugs in the spare tire of the car that some of his codefendants used to transport the methamphetamine. Tafolla-Montoya was arrested prior to collecting any money for that drug delivery.

Tafolla-Montoya additionally admitted that near the end of February 2016, he had helped conceal 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine in a vehicle that transported drugs from California to Louisville. Furthermore, Tafolla-Montoya admitted his involvement in a drug deal for crystal methamphetamine that took place in late December 2015 in the parking garage of the Embassy Suites in Charleston.

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. Velarian Sylvester Carter, of Beckley, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine. 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 defendants have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Rafael Garcia Serrato, of Los Angeles, Cesar Garcia, also of Los Angeles, Brian Ashby, of Kanawha County, and Miguel Alejandro Robles-Ibarra, a Mexican national, 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., imposed the sentence and 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.

Topic: 
Drug Trafficking
Updated February 10, 2017