Public Safety

8 going to prison for distributing ice meth in Iowa

Drugs came from Mexico cartel, according to testimony

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Eight defendants, who were supplied with ice methamphetamine from Mexico and distributed the drugs in Iowa, were sentenced this week in federal court to prison terms ranging from three to 25 years.

Each of the con-conspiractors, at separate sentencings in U.S. District Court, admitted they had conspired to distribute ice meth in the Dubuque area.

Evidence from two of the sentencing hearings showed that Mauricio Bayardo Chan, 21, of Tijuana, Mexico, and Jose Juan Ceja, 25, of Bell Gardens, Calif., who said they were affiliated with the Sinaloa drug cartel, supplied the ice methamphetamine from Mexico. Ice meth is a smokable form of the drug that resembles a chip of ice.

Another defendant, Samuel Oliver Taylor III, 42, of Dubuque, acted as the primary local intermediary for the meth in Dubuque.

At one point, Taylor provided Chan with a loaded firearm so Chan could “resolve a drug debt” with another individual. Chan returned the firearm unloaded.

In October 2017, Ceja showed up at one of his co-conspirators’ residences trying to retrieve something from an earlier shipment of meth.

When the customer didn’t tell him where to find it, Ceja showed the customer videos of cartel members cutting off peoples’ hands and heads and made threats against another member in the meth ring.

Chan had made similar threats in the past, showing another co-defendant similar videos and stating the only way out of dealing with him was “death or prison.”

Chan, who pleaded last August to conspiring to distribute meth and conspiring to commit money laundering, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. He also was ordered to serve five years of supervised release following prison.

Ceja, who pleaded guilty June 28, 2018, to conspiring to distribute meth, was sentenced to 13 years in prison and five years of supervised release.

Taylor, who pleaded guilty Aug. 6, 2018, to conspiring to distribute meth, conspiring to commit money laundering and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release.

Other defendants

• Keith Richard Ellis, 36, of Dubuque, was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison and to eight years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty May 25, 2018, to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

• Joshua Allen Carter, 33, of Tucson, Ariz., was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and tp five years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty May 21, 2018, to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

• Michael Scott Boen, 26, of Potosi, Wis., was sentenced to more than three years in prison and to four years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty July 11, 2018, to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

• Melissa Marie Petesch, 30, of Hazel Green, Wis., was sentenced to 11 years in prison and to three years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty June 12, 2018, to conspiring to distribute meth, conspiring to commit money laundering and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

• Brenda Lynn Harker, 40, of Dubuque, was sentenced to over six years in prison and to four years of supervised release. She pleaded guilty Aug. 2, 2018, to conspiring to distribute meth and conspiring to commit money laundering.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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