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Press Release

Mexican National Indicted for Drug Trafficking, Illegal Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Mexican national was indicted by a federal grand jury today for illegally selling more than a dozen firearms and a large amount of methamphetamine and heroin to an undercover federal agent.

Heladio Lezama-Palma, 33, a citizen of Mexico who was residing in Kansas City, Mo., was charged in an eight-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Lezama-Palma on Nov. 8, 2018, and contains additional charges.

The indictment charges Lezama-Palma with two counts of distributing methamphetamine, one count of distributing heroin, two counts of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, two counts of being an illegal alien in possession of firearms, and one count of illegally reentering the United States after having been deported.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Lezama-Palma sold a confidential informant three firearms on July 2, 2018. After the sale, the affidavit says, Lezama-Palma said he currently possessed 20 kilograms of methamphetamine and offered to sell it for $7,500 per kilogram.

On July 31, 2018, Lezama-Palma met the confidential informant and an undercover law enforcement agent. Lezama-Palma allegedly sold the undercover agent one kilogram of methamphetamine.

Lezama-Palma contacted the undercover agent in October, the affidavit says, and told him he had more firearms for sale. Lezama-Palma met the undercover agent and the confidential informant on Oct. 30, 2018, and allegedly sold the agent five firearms (a HiPoint 9mm semi-automatic pistol, an Intratect 9mm semi-automatic pistol, a HiPoint 9mm semi-automatic rifle, and two Spike’s Tactical AR-15 .223 variant rifles), several magazines and 22.7 grams of heroin. Lezama-Palma met the undercover agent again later the same day, the affidavit says, and gave him a Taurus 9mm handgun, which he said he could pay for later.

The next day, on Oct. 31, 2018, Lezama-Palma contacted the undercover agent and allegedly offered to sell seven more firearms for $4,800. The undercover agent asked Lezama-Palma to add two kilograms of methamphetamine to the sale. Lezama-Palma agreed, the affidavit says, and they arranged to meet a few days later.

On Nov. 7, 2018, the undercover agent met Lezama-Palma at a grocery store parking lot, where he was arrested by Kansas City, Mo., police officers. Officers searched the Cadillac Escalade Lezama-Palma was driving and found a black duffel bag that contained approximately two kilograms of methamphetamine and seven firearms (a Taurus 9mm pistol, a Mellennium .40-caliber pistol, a Glock 9mm pistol, a Glock .40-caliber pistol, a Smith & Wesson 9mm pistol, a Mac 90 Sporter 7.62mm rifle, and a DTI-15 5.56mm rifle).

The charges contained in this indictment 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 Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberlee L. Moore. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Updated November 13, 2018

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
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