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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 9, 2022

Three Defendants Sentenced for $2.1 Million Meth Conspiracy

KC Man Sentenced to 26 Years, KCK Woman Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison, St. Joseph Man Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two Mexican nationals and a St. Joseph man were sentenced in federal court today for their roles in a $2.1 million conspiracy that distributed more than 100 kilograms of methamphetamine in the Kansas City metropolitan area and in northwest Missouri.

Juan Guzman, also known as Daniel Solorio and as “Flaco,” 41, of Kansas City, Mo., and Maria De La Cruz Nava, 26, of Kansas City, Kan., both citizens of Mexico, and John Paul Gnat, 32, of St. Joseph, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. District Judge Brian C. Wimes. Guzman was sentenced to 26 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. Nava was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole. Gnat was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison without parole.

Guzman and Nava were found guilty at trial on Nov. 9, 2021, of participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and in a money-laundering conspiracy over a nearly four-year period from Jan. 1, 2015, to Nov. 14, 2018. In addition to the conspiracies, Guzman and Nava were found guilty of possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking. Guzman was also found guilty of illegally reentering the United States after having been deported.

Guzman was the supplier for the drug-trafficking conspiracy, selling multiple kilograms of methamphetamine on a regular basis, sometimes daily, to multiple co-conspirators who then distributed methamphetamine to others.  Guzman also involved others in storing methamphetamine. The jury found Nava assisted Guzman in his drug trafficking and money laundering activities.

The court found Guzman directly responsible for the distribution of at least 45 kilograms of methamphetamine. Based on a street price of $600 per ounce, the court ordered Guzman to forfeit to the government $954,000, which represents the proceeds of illegal drug trafficking. The court also ordered Nava to forfeit to the government $15,000.

Guzman, Nava, and several others were arrested at Guzman’s residence on Oct. 18, 2018. At the time of their arrest, officers seized two rifles, five handguns (one with an extended drum magazine), ammunition, 688 grams of methamphetamine, cash, and drug paraphernalia – including drug ledgers and drug packaging – from Guzman’s residence.

Gnat pleaded guilty on June 17, 2020, to his role in the drug-trafficking and money-laundering conspiracies. Gnat admitted that he supplied methamphetamine to several individuals on a daily basis, sometimes pound quantities twice a day, for several months.

Co-defendant Luis Carlos Ramos Caraveo, 27, a citizen of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., was sentenced on July 1, 2022, to 16 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. Co-defendant Jacob Dale Walsh, 36, of Denton, Kan., was sentenced on Sept. 1, 2022, to 13 years and seven months in federal prison without parole.

Co-defendants Chanthacone Senthavy, 48, a citizen of Laos residing in Independence, Mo., and Christopher Shawn Sharp, 44, of St. Joseph, each have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Bruce Rhoades and Robert M. Smith. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, Midwest HIDTA, the Independence, Mo., Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Jackson County Drug Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI.

Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Immigration
Firearms Offenses
Updated September 9, 2022