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Press Release

Mexican National Sentenced to 27 Years for Large-Scale Drug-Trafficking Conspiracy

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

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A Mexican national residing in Raymore, Mo., was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine.

Abel Miranda-Diaz, 48, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to 27 years in federal prison without parole.

On Sept. 21, 2022, Miranda-Diaz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin, five kilograms or more of cocaine, and 50 grams of more of methamphetamine from 2015 to March 18, 2020.

On March 18, 2020, federal agents saw co-defendant Christopher Aldana-Vergara, 33, a Mexican national residing in Independence, Mo., deliver two kilograms of heroin and two kilograms of methamphetamine to co-defendant Sergio Villegas-Sandoval, 44, a Mexican national residing in Kansas City, Kan. Agents arrested Villegas-Sandoval and seized the drugs. Agents also followed Aldana-Vergara to his residence; when he left his residence a short time later, agents conducted a traffic stop and arrested him. They searched his vehicle and found more than a kilogram of cocaine.

Miranda-Diaz was found hiding under Aldana-Vergara’s residence, a trailer with an attached garage. Agents searched the residence and found a large-scale methamphetamine conversion laboratory. Agents found seven one-gallon containers that contained a total of 31 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine, approximately 33 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, approximately two kilograms of heroin, drug ledgers, and a Mossberg sawed-off shotgun.

Miranda-Diaz admitted to investigators that he maintained stash houses in the Kansas City area for the purpose of storing methamphetamine and was paid for this service by a Mexican drug cartel. Miranda-Diaz described how he would unload shipments of methamphetamine, which were often hidden in compartments of car tires, the drive shafts of trucks, gas tanks and car batteries.

According to court documents, Miranda-Diaz is in the country illegally after having been previously convicted and deported for illegally entering the United States.

Miranda-Diaz is the fourth and final defendant to be sentenced in this case after pleading guilty to participating in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Aldana-Vergara was sentenced on Jan. 26, 2022, to 20 years in federal prison without parole. Yanez-Sotelo was sentenced on March 9, 2023, to 11 years in federal prison without parole. Villegas-Sandoval was sentenced on Oct. 18, 2022, to nine years in federal prison without parole.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Raskin and Patrick Edwards. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Homeland Security Investigations.

Updated March 29, 2023

Drug Trafficking