Two meth mules sentenced to federal prison for roles in California-to-West Virginia drug conspiracy
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two women caught transporting significant quantities of crystal methamphetamine from California to West Virginia were sentenced to federal prison today, announced United States Attorney Carol Casto. Kelly Newcomb, 56, of Nevada, was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime. Danielle Dessaray Estrada, 21, of Los Angeles, was also sentenced to a year and a day in prison for interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime.
Newcomb admitted that on March 10, 2016, she rented a vehicle in Las Vegas and drove with Cara Linn Monasmith, a codefendant, to California, where 10 pounds of crystal methamphetamine were concealed in the vehicle for transportation to West Virginia. Newcomb and Monasmith then began the drive to West Virginia, and during the course of the trip Newcomb learned about the concealed drugs. Newcomb further admitted that on March 18, 2016, she arrived in West Virginia, rented a room at the Super 8 Motel in Huntington, and followed the instructions of another codefendant by leaving the vehicle unlocked in the parking lot. After Newcomb’s arrival, an undercover officer, in accordance with instructions obtained through a cooperating individual, removed the spare tire where the drugs were concealed.
Estrada admitted that in March 2016, she picked up approximately five pounds of crystal methamphetamine in California. Estrada also admitted that with the help of Rafael Garcia Serrato and Cesar Garcia, two codefendants, she repackaged the methamphetamine and concealed the drugs in the back seat of her car. Estrada further admitted that she and Rachel Arlene Garay, another codefendant, drove from California to West Virginia and they were stopped by officers in South Charleston on March 26, 2016. Law enforcement discovered the drugs during the traffic stop. Estrada additionally admitted that she had previously driven to Charleston in December 2015 to deliver drugs.
This prosecution is the result of a multi-agency investigation that led to an eight-count indictment implicating several defendants. All of the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. Two other women who were used as mules to transport methamphetamine, Garay, of California, and Monasmith, of Nevada, pleaded guilty to interstate travel in furtherance of a drug crime. Garay is scheduled to be sentenced on December 15, 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. United States District Judge John T. Copenhaver, Jr., imposed the sentences.
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.
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