Toledo man to serve nearly eight years in federal prison for trafficking ice methamphetamine

He was part of drug conspiracy spanning four years

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A 25-year-old Toledo man was sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison Tuesday for his involvement in an ice methamphetamine trafficking ring in Eastern Iowa.

Kelbie Struve pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Court documents show the drug conspiracy spanned from November 2012 through August 2016. Struve, who was in the conspiracy with seven others, was responsible for distributing 2.5 pounds of meth.

According to previous hearings for co-conspirators, the investigators conducted controlled buys from some of the defendants and also used wiretaps during the investigation. During one hearing, a DEA agent testified the purity level of the meth tested was more than 90 percent.

U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard Strand granted a two-level increase for more prison time based on Struve having four firearms, including one sawed-off shotgun, in his home, which were likely connected to his distribution of drugs. However, the judge ended up going below the advisory guideline sentencing of 118 months to 94 months in prison.

Struve, during the hearing, said he made a “series of bad decisions and takes full responsibility” for his actions. He apologized to the community and his family for the harm or hurt he caused. Struve said he couldn’t change the past but would change his future and would try to make amends.

The federal prison sentence will run consecutively to two pending probation revocations Struve faces in Tama County District Court. Struve also will be on supervised release in the federal case for four years following his prison term.

Struve also was previously ordered to forfeit $12,000 in proceeds from the illegal distribution of drugs.

The co-defendants in this case have all been sentenced, except for Kyle Chyma, 29, of Toledo, who will be sentenced Wednesday. The others are: Scott Steuhm Jr., 24, of Tama; Edgar Hernandez, 30, of Toledo; Kailyn Struve, 25, of Toledo; Tyler Walz, 22, of Tama; Marlene Hernandez, 24, of Toledo; and Alejandra Castillo-Hernandez, 45, of Marshalltown.

Juan Carlos Hernandez-Lopez also was charged in the case but he has been a fugitive since being indicted in September 2016.

The other defendants received sentences ranging from 15 months to 21 years in federal prison. Each also was ordered to pay a forfeiture of the illegal proceeds that totaled $350,000.

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

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