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Press Release

Repeat Drug Dealer From Mexico Sentenced to 15 Years After Being Caught with Over 11 Pounds of Methamphetamine in La Crosse

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

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Juventino Lara Plancarte, 55, of Mexico, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 15 years in federal prison for possessing more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute and maintaining a drug trafficking place.  This prison term will be followed by a 5-year term of supervised release.  Plancarte also forfeited $72,000 in drug proceeds seized by police. Plancarte pleaded guilty to this charge on March 14, 2023.

On January 20, 2022, La Crosse Police stopped a car in which Plancarte was a passenger, after it engaged in suspicious activity in an area of La Crosse known for drug trafficking.  During the stop, a police dog trained in drug detection signaled that he detected the possible presence of illegal controlled substances in the trunk of the car. Officers then searched the car and found nearly 11 pounds of methamphetamine in a backpack that was in the trunk. Plancarte later acknowledged that the bag and drugs were his and that he was in La Crosse to sell the methamphetamine. 

There were two other men in the car with Plancarte, and following the search of the car, investigators searched a home in Hudson, Wisconsin where the three men lived. There, Hudson Police and St Croix County Sheriff’s deputies found another nearly 300 grams of methamphetamine in Plancarte’s bedroom, along with $72,000 in another room and evidence that there had been larger quantities of methamphetamine divided up and repackaged at the home at some earlier time. 

Plancarte is a Mexican citizen who had recently served a 12-year federal sentence for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in Idaho.  When he was released from his sentence, he was deported back to Mexico in December 2019, but illegally returned to the United States to continue his drug trafficking activity in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area. The two other men who were in the car with Plancarte and whom he used to help drive him around and make deliveries, Armando Nieto and Emmanuel Sauceda, had no prior convictions for drug trafficking and were prosecuted on state drug charges in La Crosse and St. Croix Counties for their involvement in this case. 

Judge Conley told Plancarte that the large quantity of methamphetamine combined with Plancarte’s fast return to the United States, illegally, in order to immediately pick up his drug distribution once again, warranted the 15-year sentence, especially in light of the fact that Plancarte was not deterred by serving a previous sentence of 12 years for the very same offense. 

The charges against Plancarte were the result of an investigation conducted by the La Crosse Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Hudson Police Department, and St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson prosecuted this case. 

Updated June 6, 2023

Drug Trafficking