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Federal judge keeps Toledo man in jail pending trial on meth conspiracy charge

Prosecutors seek $1 million forfeiture in drug ring from 9 defendants

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A federal magistrate ruled Thursday to keep a 24-year-old Toledo man, charged in an ice meth and cocaine conspiracy with eight others, in jail pending trial based on the alleged crime and his criminal history.

Kelbie Struve is charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. He is accused of selling ice methamphetamine from November 2012 through August of this year, an indictment shows. He is charged with distributing at least 50 grams or more of a mixture containing meth, which contained 5 grams or more of pure meth.

Others indicted on the conspiracy charge: Kailyn Struve, Kelbie’s brother; Edgar Fabian Hernandez; Kyle Chyma; Juan Carlos Hernandez-Lopez; Scott Steuhm Jr.; Marlene Yesenia Hernandez; Alejandra Castillo-Hernandez; and Tyler Walz.

According to the indictment unsealed last week, Chyma, Edgar Hernandez, Hernandez-Lopez and Steuhm are accused of distributing at least 500 grams or more of a mixture containing meth, which contained 50 grams or more of pure meth.

Chyma and Kailyn Struve are also accused, along with Walz, of distributing cocaine. And Chyma was also indicted on a money laundering charge.

Prosecutors also ask for a forfeiture of $1 million or more from all the defendants for the illegal profits they made in the distribution of illegal drugs, the indictment shows. Two defendants were to have detention hearings later on Thursday and the others haven’t had hearings yet, so there’s little information in the court files.

Matthew Martin, DEA Task Force member and Cedar Rapids Police Officer, testified during the hearing about wiretaps that were used in the investigation. A wiretap was placed on the phone of Chyma from July to October 2015. The recordings played in court were between Chyma and Kelbie Struve.

The calls involved the two men talking about a half pound and more than two pounds of meth being sold. They discussed a pound of meth being valued at $12,000 or $13,000 per pound. In another call, Kelbie Struve was upset and complaining about not making enough profit — $1,000 — off the meth sales to “go to jail over.”

Martin said Kelbie Struve was a retail distributor in the Tama and Toledo area for the ring. Authorities had a cooperating witness who named Kelbie Struve as part of the conspiracy.

The meth tested from this conspiracy had a purity level of more than 90 percent, Martin said. U.S. Magistrate Jon Scoles said the weight of evidence os strong in the case and Kelbie Struve has a lengthy criminal history including being on probation in two separate cases for theft and assault when he was indicted in this case.

Scoles said Kelbie Struve would remain in jail pending trial, which hasn’t been set at this time.

If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 30 years in federal prison.

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

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