Texas Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Meth Conspiracy
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Mexican national in Sugarland, Texas, was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the Joplin area.
Israel Belmontes-Cisneros, 34, a citizen of Mexico residing in Sugarland, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 20 years in federal prison without parole.
According to court documents, Belmontes-Cisneros was part of a drug-trafficking organization identified as a major source of supply in the Joplin, Mo., area as a result of a year-long, multi-agency investigation into an international organization based in Matamoras, Mexico, with members across the United States, including Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
On July 8, 2015, Belmontes-Cisneros pleaded guilty to his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in the Joplin area. Belmontes-Cisneros also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, which originated in the Southern District of Texas but was transferred to the Western District of Missouri.
Belmontes-Cisneros’s girlfriend, Miriam DeLeon, 35, of Brownsville, Texas, also was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison without parole after pleading guilty to her role in the conspiracy. Miriam DeLeon was identified as the leader of the drug-trafficking organization.
According to court documents, they transported one to two kilograms of methamphetamine per month to Joplin. Miriam DeLeon and Belmontes-Cisneros drove from Texas to Joplin to transport the methamphetamine, which was concealed in laundry detergent boxes. A kilogram of methamphetamine cost approximately $25,000. Drug-trafficking proceeds were transported back to Texas in the same concealment method.
According to court documents, a confidential source traveled from Joplin to Sugarland to pick up a kilogram of methamphetamine from Belmontes-Cisneros and Miriam DeLeon and transport it back to Joplin. The confidential source was given an eightball of methamphetamine by Miriam DeLeon’s brother, co-defendant Jose Luis Deleon, Jr., 36, of Joplin, as payment for the transportation. The methamphetamine was concealed in a spare tire in the vehicle, which was off-loaded at Jose Deleon’s residence.
Jose DeLeon has pleaded guilty to his role in the conspiracy and to being a felon in possession of a firearm and awaits sentencing. A confidential source told law enforcement investigators that Jose DeLeon sold multiple pounds of methamphetamine each week and had received at least two shipments of firearms in exchange for methamphetamine, each approximately 15 firearms.
According to court documents related to the original charge against Belmontes-Cisneros filed in Texas, a confidential source represented himself as a drug trafficker from the northeastern United States and met with Belmontes-Cisneros and Miriam DeLeon at a restaurant in Houston, Texas, in August 2012. During that meeting, Belmontes-Cisneros told the confidential source they could supply 20 to 30 kilograms of cocaine for $27,000 per kilogram. Belmontes-Cisneros also told the confidential source they could supply methamphetamine. The confidential source later met with Belmontes-Cisneros on two occasions and, at each meeting, purchased approximately a pound of methamphetamine for $9,000.
Seven additional Joplin residents have also pleaded guilty. Jack Holguin, 46, Ashley Lynn Mobley, 32, and Eric Allen Meyer, 32, were each sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Jeremy McClean, 33, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without parole. Brian Stark, 41, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison without parole. Juan Leonardo Simmons, 32, was sentenced to six years and three months in federal prison without parole. Billy Duane Henson, 61, was sentenced to five years in federal prison without parole. Brian Ashton, 31, awaits sentencing.
Miriam DeLeon was arrested on July 31, 2014, after visiting the Jasper County courthouse for a hearing for her brother and co-defendant, Jose DeLeon, who was being held on state charges at that time. In the courthouse parking lot, she handed Mobley a bag of dog food that was later found to contain 470 grams of methamphetamine. According to court documents, Miriam DeLeon was bringing the methamphetamine to her brother, who planned to distribute inside the Jasper County jail.
Miriam DeLeon had also been stopped in August 2008 by the Texas Department of Public Safety for a traffic violation in Wharton, Texas. The traffic stop resulted in the seizure of $122,300 that was discovered hidden in the vehicle.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ami Harshad Miller and Cindy Hyde. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, IRS-Criminal Investigations, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Newton County, Mo., Prosecuting Attorney.