Mexican National Sentenced to 136 Months for Drug Trafficking in the Tri Cities
Distribution involved a Child for Transporting Large Quantities of Methamphetamine
RICHLAND, Wash. – On August 23, 2023, Chief United States District Judge Stanley A. Bastian sentenced Amado De La Mora Cardenas, age 35, to over 11 years in in federal prison after his guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure methamphetamine. De La Mora Cardenas, who is from Colima, Mexico, also will serve 5 years of federal supervision after he is released from custody.
According to information disclosed during court proceedings, in April 2020, an investigation was initiated into an organization suspected to be involved in trafficking methamphetamine into the Eastern District of Washington, specifically in the Tri-Cities, Washington, and Connell, Washington, areas. Multiple subjects were identified within the organization to include Carlos Madrigal-Deniz; Amado De La Mora Cardenas, Rafael Muniz De la Mora; and Pascual Masqueda-Salinas, and others.
In September 2020, De La Mora Cardenas and Co-Defendant Madrigal-Deniz made arrangements for a ten-pound delivery of methamphetamine from Muniz-De La Mora, who brought a four-year-old child to the transaction. The child was wearing a Spider-Man backpack containing approximately 10 pounds of methamphetamine. Co-Defendant Muniz-De La Mora escorted the young child, who is seen wearing the backpack, from one vehicle to another. Co-Defendant Muniz-De La Mora, the child, and De La Mora Cardenas then entered into the second vehicle – a Chevy Cruze. Shortly thereafter, DEA Tri-Cities stopped the Chevy Cruze and recovered the backpack, which was inside the car, next to the child. Inside the Spider-Man Backpack, the DEA recovered 10 pounds of methamphetamine supplied by De La Mora Cardenas and Co-Defendant Muniz-De La Mora.
“This incident is another sad example of the depths drug traffickers will go to exploit others, even children, to continue their drug trafficking. The case illustrates to the community the steadfast resolve of DEA and our federal, state, local partners in the Tri-Cities in bringing wrongdoers to justice,” said David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division.
Vanessa R. Waldref, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, stated “Drug distribution continues to harm the Tri-Cities and elsewhere. It is particularly troubling that Mr. De La Mora Cardenas participated in a drug transaction where a four-year old child was used to conceal distribution activities” U.S. Attorney Waldref continued: “I commend the collaborative efforts of state, local, and federal law enforcement to identify Mr. De La Mora Cardenas’s drug trafficking activities and to prevent him from further distributing this poison in our community.”
Brigit Clary, Richland Police Department’s Chief of Police, stated “The drug trade does not recognize jurisdictional boundaries when insidiously introducing the most vulnerable of our population to life altering substances; even using children to accomplish their destruction. Law enforcement in the Tri-Cities, together with the US Attorney’s Office, remains committed to working together across local and federal lines to partner in aggressively combatting drug crimes, and keeping our communities safer.”
Chris Guerrero, Kennewick Police Department’s Chief of Police, stated “This impactful sentence is yet another great example of the public safety partnerships that are in operation every single day to keep the Tri-Cities area safe. We appreciate the commitment from our Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force, the DEA, US Border Patrol, and the US Attorney’s Office in holding those who are providing illegal narcotics to our communities accountable.”
This case was investigated by the DEA Tri-Cities, the METRO Drug Task Force, United States Border Patrol, Richland Police Department, Kennewick Police Department, Pasco Police Department, and West Richland Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Van Marter.