Husband, Wife Sentenced for Drug Trafficking Following Heroin Overdose
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a St. Louis, Mo., man and a Berkeley, Mo., woman have been sentenced for their roles in a drug-trafficking conspiracy after the man suffered a heroin overdose in a Columbia, Mo., hotel room.
Gustavo Ruvalcaba, 45, of St. Louis, and Jennifer Ann Foust, 30, of Berkeley, who are now married, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. Ruvalcaba was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in federal prison without parole. Foust was sentenced to six years in federal prison without parole.
On May 6, 2015, Ruvalcaba and Foust each were found guilty at trial of participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine and methamphetamine from July 2013 to July 2014. Ruvalcaba was also convicted of four counts of possessing heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine and methamphetamine, each with the intent to distribute, on July 14, 2014. Foust was also charged in the possession counts but the jury was unable to reach a verdict; the court declared a mistrial on those counts in regard to Foust.
Columbia police officers were dispatched to a room at the Super 8 Motel in response to a heroin overdose on July 14, 2014. Foust had called 911 for Ruvalcaba, who was lying on the floor and being treated by EMS and fire personnel when officers arrived. Officers executed a search warrant for the hotel room and seized 16.4 grams of black tar heroin, 6.6 grams of crack cocaine, 35.3 grams of powder cocaine, 11.6 grams of pure methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, seven cell phones and $78,525 divided up into 8 different manila envelopes and numerous piles.
St. Charles, Mo., police officers also had found Ruvalcaba and Foust together in an Embassy Suites hotel room about a year earlier, on July 10, 2013. Foust initially told officers that nobody else was in the hotel room, but they heard noises in the bathroom. Officers noticed drugs and drug paraphernalia scattered in plain view throughout the room and a large bundle of cash. The bathroom door was locked and they continued to hear sounds of plastic being rubbed together, water running and the toilet flushing. Officers believed evidence was being destroyed, so they jimmied open the bathroom door and found Ruvalcaba, who was flushing the contents of plastic bags down the sink and toilet. Ruvalcaba was handcuffed and set in a chair.
When one of the officers turned around to speak to Foust, Ruvalcaba quickly ingested some of the 15.4 grams of methamphetamine that was being weighed on a digital scale found in the bedroom. Ruvalcaba, who had chunks of methamphetamine in his mouth and on his face and t-shirt, began to eat the methamphetamine at a fast pace and refused to spit it out. When asked why he had ingested the methamphetamine, Ruvalcaba stated, “You can’t charge me without any evidence.” Officers seized 9.6 grams of crack cocaine, 5.7 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, five cell phones and $11,086 (a large amount recovered from Ruvalcaba’s underwear) from the hotel room.
St. Charles police officers arrested Ruvalcaba and Foust again on Sept. 12, 2013, after their vehicle was pulled over on Interstate 70 for operating without proper registration. A K-9 walked around the vehicle and alerted to several areas of the vehicle, including the trunk. Officers found several syringes in a suitcase in the trunk.
Ruvalcaba and Foust were transported to the police station. While they were waiting in the holdover area, Ruvalcaba, whose right hand was handcuffed to the holding bench, reached with his free left hand to remove his shoe and retrieved a package of methamphetamine. Ruvalcaba threw the package of methamphetamine toward Foust, who pulled it toward her with her foot, placed it in her mouth and swallowed it. Officers ordered Foust to open her mouth and noticed a white residue on her tongue; officers also found methamphetamine on the floor where Foust was sitting.
On Dec. 6, 2013, law enforcement officers conducted surveillance of a residence in St. Charles, Mo., after being notified that two packages suspected of containing narcotics were scheduled to be delivered to the residence. After the packages were delivered, Ruvalcaba and Foust exited the residence, and Ruvalcaba placed a microwave oven into a vehicle driven by Foust. Ruvalcaba and Foust then left the residence together and were followed by officers. As officers attempted to stop the vehicle driven by Foust, she rapidly accelerated and drove onto I-70 at a high rate of speed. As Foust attempted to evade officers, she was seen weaving in and out of traffic for several miles at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour. During the pursuit, Ruvalcaba had his upper torso out of the vehicle, and was observed throwing several packages containing a white substance, suspected to be methamphetamine, from the vehicle.
After the pursuit, officers searched the residence and recovered 15.1 grams of methamphetamine. A resident of the home told investigators he allowed Ruvalcaba and Foust to ship the packages containing methamphetamine to his house. He estimated that the packages received that day contained two kilograms of methamphetamine, which Ruvalcaba had concealed inside the microwave oven.
According to court documents, investigators interviewed a cooperating source in February 2015, who recognized Ruvalcaba and knew him to supply methamphetamine to a mutual associate. The cooperating source saw Ruvalcaba deliver three pounds of methamphetamine to their mutual associate on two different occasions.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Columbia, Mo., Police Department, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the St. Charles City Police Department, the St. Charles County, Mo., Sherriff’s Department and the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force.
Updated November 19, 2015