Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Distributing Meth After Attempt to Steal from Undercover Officer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Mexican national pleaded guilty in federal court today to distributing methamphetamine and illegally possessing a firearm after he attempted to rob an undercover police detective during a drug buy and led authorities on a high-speed chase.
Luis Alberto Vasquez-Pena, 24, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple to two counts of distributing methamphetamine and one count of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
By pleading guilty today, Vasquez-Pena admitted that he intended to rob the undercover officer when he agreed to sell five ounces of methamphetamine for $4,500. Vasquez-Pena admitted that he sold the undercover officer methamphetamine on two occasions in June 2014, and agreed to sell five ounces of methamphetamine for $900 per ounce on Aug. 14, 2014.
According to today’s plea agreement, Vasquez-Pena met the undercover officer near the corner of St. John Avenue and Hardesty Avenue in Kansas City; he got into the officer’s vehicle and instructed the officer to drive to a house near East 9th Street and Bales Court in Kansas City. Vasquez-Pena asked the undercover officer for the money; the officer confirmed having the money but wasn’t going to pay without getting the methamphetamine. Vasquez-Pena explained that he would have to walk two or three houses up the street to get the drugs, and that the dealer would not let five ounces of methamphetamine “walk out the door” without getting paid first. The undercover officer gave Vasquez-Pena $4,500. He got out of the vehicle, walked north on Bales Court, got into his Dodge Durango (which was occupied by a woman) and immediately left the area.
Law enforcement officers attempted to stop the Durango, but Vasquez-Pena refused to stop and a high-speed chase ensued that eventually led into Kansas City, Kan. Officers briefly lost sight of the Durango but soon found it abandoned in a business parking lot. A few minutes later, federal agents discovered Vasquez-Pena hiding under a car in a nearby salvage yard. Officers also found the woman passenger in the salvage yard and recovered the $4,500 in pre-recorded buy money. Agents searched the Durango and found a loaded Ruger .45-caliber pistol and another loaded handgun concealed under the driver’s seat.
“I know the game,” Vasquez-Pena told the arresting officers, adding that he “should have shot” the undercover officer after taking the money.
Vasquez-Pena, who admitted that he was born in Mexico and is illegally in the United States, told officers that he could not get the five ounces of methamphetamine and intended to take the money from the undercover officer. Vasquez-Pena also admitted that he had traded an eight-ball of methamphetamine for the Ruger pistol two or three weeks earlier.
Under federal statutes, Vasquez-Pena is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 90 years in federal prison without parole. 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 Justin G. Davids. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.