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Justice News

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Texas man pleads guilty to federal methamphetamine crime

Law enforcement seized over 270 grams of 97% pure methamphetamine during investigation

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Texas man pleaded guilty today to a federal drug crime, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Mason Earl Gonzales, 27, of Pasadena, entered his guilty plea to attempting to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Gonzales admitted that on June 13, 2016, he traveled with a confidential source working with the Metropolitan Drug Enforcement Network Team (MDENT) to the Boone Motor Inn in Boone County and searched behind the motel for methamphetamine. Gonzales further admitted that he was unable to locate the methamphetamine and that he planned to return the next day to find the drugs. MDENT went to the same area the following day, located the methamphetamine buried under a rock, and replaced the drugs with a substance resembling methamphetamine. MDENT also set up a surveillance camera in the area. Gonzales admitted that he returned to the area of the motel later that evening and found the bag containing the substance resembling methamphetamine. MDENT then conducted a traffic stop of his vehicle and Gonzales admitted that he went to the area of the motel to get what he believed was methamphetamine and that he intended to distribute the drugs. Lab testing of the methamphetamine seized by MDENT confirmed a weight of over 270 grams and a purity level greater than 97%.

Gonzales faces at least five and up to 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on January 4, 2017.

MDENT conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Monica D. Coleman is handling the prosecution. The plea hearing was held before United States District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin.

This case was brought as part of an ongoing effort led by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of West Virginia to combat illegal drugs in our communities, 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 illegal pill trafficking, eliminating open air drug markets, and curtailing the spread of illegal drugs in communities across the Southern District. 

Drug Trafficking
Updated October 11, 2016