News Release
July 7, 2008
Contact: Joanna Zoltay
Number: 312-886-2597

Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Distribute Cocaine In Southern Minnesota
12 Kilograms Cocaine Seized During a Routine Traffic Violation Stop by Police

JUL 7 - (Minneapolis, MN) – A 30-year-old man pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute the highly addictive drug cocaine. Antolin Mendez-Soto, unknown address, entered his plea before United States District Court Judge James Rosenbaum July 7 in Minneapolis. Mendez-Soto was indicted on March 10.

Court affidavits show the case began with a Jeep Commander that was stopped by police on a traffic violation on February 18, 2008 near Lincoln, Nebraska. During a search of the vehicle, police recovered 12 kilograms of cocaine that were individually packaged and hidden either inside the front passenger door, the backseat driver’s side door or the tailgate of the vehicle. Both people inside the vehicle were arrested, and police learned that the vehicle was traveling to Rochester, Minnesota. On February 17, 2008 in Colorado, Mendez-Soto provided the carriers with the cocaine and directions to Minnesota.

“The original seizure of cocaine was the result of the Nebraska State Patrol doing an excellent job during a routine traffic stop,” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz. “The cooperative efforts of all the law enforcement agencies involved helped make this investigation a success.”

According to his plea agreement, Mendez-Soto knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five or more kilograms of a substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine. Mendez-Soto faces a potential maximum penalty of life in prison. Judge Rosenbaum will determine Mendez-Soto’s sentence at a future date.

The plea agreement is the result of a joint investigation by the by the DEA, the Nebraska State Patrol, the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the Austin Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Wolfe.