News Release
March 26, 2010
Contact: Thomas E. Murphy
Number: (314)538-4660

Jury Convicts Three Mexican Nationals of Marijuana Trafficking

MAR 26 - (KANSAS CITY, MO) Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that on March 25, 2010, three Mexican nationals were convicted by a federal jury today of participating in a conspiracy to distribute hundreds of pounds of marijuana.

Ramon Benavente-Zubia , 38, Mateo Ruiz-Zarate , 27, and Elias Isaac Guerrero-Ramirez , 28, who are all citizens of Mexico, were found guilty of the charges contained in a Feb. 9, 2010, federal indictment.

All three co-defendants were found guilty of participating in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana between Jan. 1, 2008, and Jan. 7, 2010 and with possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute. Benavente-Zubia was also found guilty of illegally reentering the United States after having been deported six times.

Under federal statutes, each defendant is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of 40 years in federal prison without parole, for each of the drug-trafficking convictions. Benavente-Zubia is also subject to a sentence of up to two years in federal prison without parole for the immigration conviction. S entencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Rhoades. It was investigated by the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department, the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Kansas Highway Patrol, and the Kansas City International Airport Police.