Methamphetamine conversion lab operator sentenced to more than 11 years
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jesus Bernal Urena, 52, of Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 11 years and eight months in prison for a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Chris Nielsen announced.
According to court documents, between October 2016 and August 2017, Bernal Urena supplied co-defendant Daniel Barraza Bazua with methamphetamine, which he then sold to others.
On May 21, 2018, Bernal Urena pleaded guilty. According to the plea agreement, investigators saw Bernal Urena going to two trailers parked within 30 feet of each other in Stockton close in time to the transactions with Barraza Bazua. When agents arrested Bernal Urena on August 8, 2017, he was on his way to deliver 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine to Barraza Bazua. Agents searched the truck in which Bernal Urena had been traveling and found two hidden compartments, one of which contained the methamphetamine and $10,000 in cash. He also possessed the key for one of the trailers. Agents searched the trailer, where they found a methamphetamine conversion laboratory. Inside, agents found about 15 pounds of processed methamphetamine, several five-gallon buckets, pots, and containers holding partially processed methamphetamine in liquid form, various chemicals, a digital scale, and a black bag containing three semi-automatic handguns and a stolen rifle. The bag also contained loaded magazines for two of the handguns.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Beck is prosecuting the case.
Charges are pending against Barraza Bazua. If convicted, Barraza Bazua faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine for each count. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.