13 KC-area Residents Charged in $1 Million Drug-trafficking Conspiracy
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that 13 Kansas City, Mo.-area defendants have been indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute more than $1 million worth of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana.
A two-year investigation culminated in a dozen arrests and the execution of several search warrants today. Law enforcement officers seized two and a half pounds of methamphetamine, marijuana, cash, drug paraphernalia, two firearms and ammunition during these searches.
Christopher Brian Padilla, 30, Natalie N. Tinoco, 29, Oswaldo Ulises Lopez, 24, Edward Francis Diaz, Jr., 47, Edward Francis Diaz III, 28, Mary Eloisa Steward, 33, Heriberto Muzquiz III, 43, Nicholas Salinas, 46, Jose Tereso Salinas-Covarrubias, 45, and Terry L. Diaz, 50, all of Kansas City, Mo.; Sergio Ibarra-Hernandez, 44, and Martin Fernando Espinoza-Arevalo, 26, both of whom are citizens of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo.; and Adan Rogelio Hernandez-Aceves, also known as Jose Delgado-Hernandez, 44, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Kan., were charged in a three-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury on Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon the arrests and initial court appearances of 12 of the defendants; Terry Diaz remains at large.
The federal indictment alleges that all of the defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana from Jan. 1, 2012, to Nov. 19, 2014. The indictment alleges that conspirators distributed at least 15 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of methamphetamine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Padilla is charged with one count of illegally possessing firearms. Padilla allegedly possessed and used a loaded .357-caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol, a Taurus .38-caliber revolver and a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.
Padilla is also charged with selling a Taurus .38-caliber revolver and a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol to a buyer who was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he was a felon.
The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require the defendants to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the drug-trafficking conspiracy or used to facilitate the commission of the drug-trafficking conspiracy, including a money judgment of $1,050,000 for which all of the defendants are jointly and severally liable. This sum, in aggregate, allegedly was received in exchange for the unlawful distribution of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, based on a conservative average street price of $32,000 per kilogram of cocaine, $1,000 per ounce of methamphetamine and $500 per pound of marijuana and the total conspiracy distribution of at least 15 kilograms of cocaine, two kilograms of methamphetamine and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
The forfeiture allegation would also require the defendants to forfeit two residential properties owned by Salinas, a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche pick-up owned by Hernandez-Aceves and $1,654 seized by law enforcement officers from Steward.
USA vs. Quintana
In a separate but related case, Victor Estevan Quintana, 27, of Kansas City, Mo., was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed today in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo.
Quintana, who was arrested as part of today’s law enforcement operation, is charged with selling firearms to a convicted felon who was thus prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. Quintana allegedly sold a Taurus .38-caliber revolver and a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol to a convicted felon.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the federal criminal complaint, Quintana was present with Padilla during an undercover drug transaction. Padilla allegedly was involved with Quintana in the sale of the firearms, as charged in the indictment that was unsealed today.
Dickinson cautioned that these charges are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department and the FBI.