Drug Enforcement Administration

St. Louis

William J. Callahan, Special Agent in Charge

January 28, 2015

Contact: SA John Leonard

Phone Number: (314) 538-4600

Joplin Man Sentenced To 22 Years For Meth Conspiracy & Firearms

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Special Agent in Charge James P. Shroba announced today that Jose DeLeon Cazares was sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine and for illegally possessing firearms.

Jose DeLeon Cazares, 29, of Joplin, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison without parole. On Aug. 5, 2014, Cazares pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine from July 16, 2012, to June 14, 2013, and to possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. Cazares admitted that he was the local leader of the drug-trafficking organization.

SAC Shroba said that in the beginning of 2012, law enforcement had noticed a significant increase in the availability of methamphetamine in the Joplin area and that the methamphetamine was pure in quality, consistent with that of the methamphetamine being imported and distributed from the Mexican cartels. With the assistance of confidential sources and undercover agents, federal and local agents conducted numerous undercover buys with various co-defendants in this conspiracy.

A cooperator told law enforcement investigators that he/she traded stolen firearms and other stolen items to Cazares in return for methamphetamine. Cazares would provide between one to one-and-a-half grams of methamphetamine per firearm. Cazares then took the firearms to Mexico. The cooperator also traded stolen flat-screen TV's, power tools and computer (like laptops and IPads) to Cazares for methamphetamine.

Cazares mother and father, Gerardo Hernandez Cazares, Sr., 53, and Leticia Cazares, 53, as well as his brothers, Gerardo Cazares Jr., 30, and Eric Eziquel Cazares, 32, all of Joplin, are among the co-defendants who have pleaded guilty in this case.

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement'(ICE) Homeland Security (HSI), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Jasper County Drug Task Force, the Joplin, Mo., Police Department and the Miami, Okla., Police Department.

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