Woman arrested in Amherst pleads guilty in meth smuggling case - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Woman arrested in Amherst pleads guilty in meth smuggling case

Posted:
By Chris Dumond

The last defendant in a smuggling ring responsible for bringing pounds of methamphetamine to the area from Mexico pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg.

The three from Dodge City, Kan., were arrested in the Lowesville area of Amherst County on Dec. 7 with a pound of methamphetamine.

Lt. Greg Turner of the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office said the drugs seized that day were part of a two-pound package.

“The first pound was dropped off in Kansas while these three defendants were en route here,” Turner said. “It is believed the meth was manufactured in Mexico and was smuggled into Arizona.”

During Wednesday morning’s hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Bassford explained how drug investigators with the sheriff’s office used a confidential informant to set up the bust. Bassford said the informant had already gotten one pound of methamphetamine from the smugglers and offered to get another.

Marisela Sierra, 35, was the last to plead guilty to a charge of conspiring to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. Co-defendants Rene Humberto Reyna, 51, and Otoniel Carrasco Rivera, 37, pleaded guilty to the same charge in May.

Bassford said Reyna was the leader of the group and would split off from them to pick up the drugs in Arizona. Rivera would ride with Sierra, sometimes on a bus, as security while Sierra was responsible for actually carrying the drugs.

“She admitted doing this once before,” the prosecutor said.

Sierra, Reyna and Rivera were arrested by investigators from  Amherst and Rockbridge counties. The case was turned over to federal authorities, Turner said, because of the cross-state trafficking and because investigators believed the drugs originated outside of the United States.

Bassford said Amherst County wasn’t just another waypoint for the drugs on the way to somewhere else.

“Absolutely I believe it was being distributed locally,” he said.

He also explained there is somewhat of a geographical divide in methamphetamine trafficking in Virginia. It may be unusual here to catch traffickers moving pound-size quantities, he said, but he regularly prosecutes such cases from jurisdictions west of Lynchburg such as Carroll County.

Bassford said the wholesale price of a pound of methamphetamine is about $15,000. At about $100 per gram, the street value is closer to $45,000, Turner said.

Bassford commended local authorities and federal investigators on their cooperation.

Sierra, Reyna and Rivera are jailed without bond pending a sentencing hearing set for Sept. 7. Their conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison and a fine of up to $4 million.

  • Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Henry County Suspicious Activity

    Saturday, April 19 2014 10:07 PM EDT2014-04-20 02:07:16 GMT
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
    Press Release from the Henry County Sheriff's OfficeThe Henry County Sheriff’s Office received a call on April 18, 2014 regarding suspicious activity. Three white males driving a white pickup truck were seen in the area of Glen Court in the Ridgeway area of Henry County. The individuals walked to the back of a residence but a neighbor yelled at them and they left. Entry into the home was not gained. On April 19, 2014, three white males were seen on Andra Drive, also in Ridgeway. A male subjec...
  • 3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    3 Blacksburg companies raise major capital

    Thursday, April 17 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-17 18:29:23 GMT
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
    Three Blacksburg companies have raised major capital recently.
  • Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Bedford Co. Sheriff's Office investigates burglary at country club

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:16 PM EDT2014-04-16 16:16:02 GMT
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
    Investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff's Office are investigating a burglary of the Boonsboro Country Club.
Powered by WorldNow

WSLS 10, P.O. Box 10
Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

Telephone: 540.981.9110
Fax: 540.343.3157
Email: news@wsls.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.