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Press Release

Jefferson City Man Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Faces at Least 10 Years in Prison

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Jefferson City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine.

Mario Alberto De La Cruz, 43, of Jefferson City, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie J. Epps to the charge contained in a June 15, 2016, federal indictment.

By pleading guilty today, De La Cruz admitted that he participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine in Columbia, Mo., and elsewhere from Aug. 2 to Nov. 10, 2015. De La Cruz also admitted that he engaged in several controlled transactions in which he sold cocaine to a confidential law enforcement informant in 2015.

On Aug. 28, 2015, the confidential informant contacted De La Cruz and arranged to purchase two ounces of cocaine. The confidential informant sent a text to De La Cruz stating, “Hey bud leaving for a bachelor party in an hour totally forgot to text yesterday bout 20 of us headed our camping could use 2 big loads of wood (two ounces of cocaine) asap!!!!Leaving in an hour.” The confidential informant was provided with $1,900 in investigative funds. De La Cruz met the confidential informant and exchanged 56 grams of cocaine for the cash.

Under federal statutes, De La Cruz is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Lynn. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Jefferson City, Mo., Police Department.

Updated September 5, 2017

Drug Trafficking