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Justice News

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Cocaine and Meth Trafficker Extradited from Mexico Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

ERIE, Pa. - A former resident of Mexico has been sentenced in federal court to 180 months in jail on his conviction of violating federal drug laws, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

United States District Judge David S. Cercone imposed the sentence on Ignacio Montes Leon, 37.

According to information presented to the court, from June 2013 through February 2015, Leon engaged in a conspiracy with 18 co-defendants to distribute and possess with intent to distribute between 50 and 150 kilograms of cocaine, and more than 100 grams of 99% pure methamphetamine. According to information provided to the court, Montes Leon was the local leader of a drug trafficking organization involved in importing cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico into Texas, which was then transported to Erie, Pennsylvania and elsewhere in hidden compartments in vehicles. Montes Leon was responsible for coordinating the drug shipments with higher-level conspirators in Texas, was directly selling pure methamphetamine to individuals in Erie on multiple occasions, and was responsible for distributing multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine at a time to his co-conspirators. In December 2013, law enforcement officers seized four kilograms of cocaine in Erie, Pennsylvania connected to Montes Leon. According to information provided to the Court, on November 1, 2014, after Montes Leon traveled to Texas to coordinate another drug shipment, two of his drug couriers were transporting the cocaine when they were stopped by the Arkansas State Police while traveling east near milepost 253 on Interstate 40. Montes Leon arranged for those couriers to travel to the Houston, Texas area to pick up a load of cocaine destined for delivery to Erie and elsewhere. The Court was further advised that a search warrant was executed on the vehicle and that individually wrapped packages of cocaine were located in a hidden compartment in the vehicle. The packages were discovered to contain more than five kilograms of cocaine. Montes Leon then fled into Mexico. Law enforcement officers located Montes Leon in Mexico, and he was arrested and extradited back into the United States to face prosecution in Erie.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

United States Attorney Brady commended the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Homeland Security Investigations; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Pennsylvania State Police; U.S. Border Patrol; the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Organized Crime Section; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives; and the Arkansas State Police for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Leon.

Drug Trafficking
Updated February 26, 2018