Indictments were announced Thursday by the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota against three men accused of conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
The indictments follow the discovery of 55-pounds of methamphetamine on April 3, 2019, that was being transported to Minnesota in a vehicle when a trooper with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) conducted a routine traffic stop.
Two of the defendants, Jose Alfredo Penaloza Romero, 22, of Minneapolis, and Irwin Enrique Becerra, 22, of Kansas City, each face of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The third defendant, Humberto Torres-Rodriguez, 38, of Los Angeles, is facing one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
The trooper with the CSP’s interdiction unit pulled over a vehicle driving on I-70 for a minor traffic violation, according to Steve Knight, the Drug Enforcement Administration agent in charge in Grand Junction, as reported in The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction. During the traffic stop the driver, Torres-Rodriguez, consented to a search of the vehicle and the trooper found a manufactured compartment between the back seat and the trunk, a hydraulic “trap” with switches used to open it which contained the drugs.
Torres-Rodriguez agreed to cooperate with authorities and arrangements were made to meet Romero and Beccera at a hotel in Bloomington, MN. Agents conducted an undercover sting at the hotel on April 5th where Torres-Rodriguez was supposed to deliver the drugs, and arrested Romero and Becerra following the agents’ observation between the three of an exchange of money for the drugs.
Following the arrests, law enforcement executed a follow-up search warrant at Romero’s residence on the 500 block of Ridgewood Avenue in Minneapolis and recovered an additional sixteen (half-pound to pound) packages of methamphetamine and approximately $30,000 in U.S. currency.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew R. Winter and Bradley M. Endicott. The defendants will make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court at a later date.
Photo: US Dept. of Justice MN
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