Two Mexican Nationals Plead Guilty to Cocaine Conspiracy
MAR 18 -- (KANSAS CITY, Mo.) – Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Mexican nationals pleaded guilty in federal court today to their roles in a large-scale conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The government believes more than $10 million worth of cocaine was smuggled from Mexico for distribution in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Felipe Garcia-Lopez, also known as Eduardo Zazueta, 29, and Humberto Saucedo-Lobatos, 27, both citizens of Mexico residing in Kansas City, Mo., pleaded guilty in separate appearances before U.S. Chief District Judge Fernando J. Gaitan this morning to the charge contained in an Oct. 29, 2008, federal indictment. By pleading guilty today, Garcia-Lopez and Saucedo-Lobatos also agreed to forfeit to the government $151,430 that was seized by law enforcement officers.
On Oct. 7, 2008, Drug Enforcement Administration agents followed a 2004 Toyota minivan from a Kansas City, Kan., hotel to a Kansas City, Mo., residence. They contacted Saucedo-Lobatos at the residence and received his consent to search the residence. During the search, they found Garcia-Lopez hiding under the minivan, which was parked in the garage, and Garcia-Lopez and Saucedo-Lobatos were arrested. Early the next morning, officers executed a search warrant at the residence and discovered 46 bundles of powder cocaine, which were contained in various other bags (such as a suitcase and duffel bag), in a bedroom closet. They also found a high-power semi-automatic handgun, 14 duct-taped bundles of cash totaling $151,430, an electronic money counter, and documents that appeared to be drug notes and accounting computations in excess of $10 million.
The total amount of cocaine seized from a hidden compartment in the minivan and from the residence was 86.15 kilograms. The government believes the drug ledger recovered from the residence will show drug dealing in excess of 150 kilograms of cocaine.
Under federal statutes, Garcia-Lopez and Saucedo-Lobatos are each subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to life in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $4 million. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office! .
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregg R. Coonrod and Joseph M. Marquez. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.