KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a California man was convicted by a federal jury today of possessing about a kilogram of cocaine that was discovered hidden in his suitcase aboard a Greyhound bus as he traveled through Kansas City.
Rene Alexandor Meras, 32, of California, was found guilty of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.
Evidence introduced during the trial indicated that Meras was transporting more than two pounds of cocaine from Los Angeles, Calif., to Cleveland, Ohio. Meras was riding a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles that arrived in Kansas City for a layover on Aug. 29, 2012. Law enforcement officers approached Meras and asked to see his ticket and identification. Meras showed the officers his ticket (which included a baggage claim check), but did not have any identification. Meras initially gave officers a false name (which did not match his ticket) and told them he didn’t have any luggage, but later acknowledged that he did have a roller bag.
Meras gave his consent for officers to search his bag. At the bottom of the bag were two pieces of plywood sandwiched together and sewn into the liner. An officer removed the plywood and discovered the cocaine taped to the underside of the top piece of plywood.
Meras refused to give his name and any biographical information about himself, but his identity was confirmed through his fingerprints, utilizing the FBI database. A woman who was traveling with Meras denied any knowledge of the cocaine and was not charged.
Following the presentation of evidence, the jury in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., deliberated for about an hour before returning the guilty verdict to U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith, ending a trial that began Monday, April 29, 2013.
Under federal statutes, Meras is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $5 million. 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 David DeTar Newbert and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jalilah Otto. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.