Undercover drug buys lead to sentences

A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced five Mexicans involved in smuggling cocaine and methamphetamine into Kansas City.

The judge in Kansas City sentenced Alejandro Valencia, 32, to 24 years and four months and Eric Octavio Rangel-Ortega, 33, to 20 years.

Valencia had pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute and Rangel-Ortega to conspiracy to distribute and to a money-laundering conspiracy.

Also from a media release by federal prosecutors:

For lesser roles, Alfredo Avitia, 34, was sentenced to three years and four months; Carlos Rodriguez-Maynez, 36, and Juan Rodriguez-Ponce, 62, were each sentenced to nine years.

Undercover officers repeatedly bought meth from Rangel-Ortega from October 2012 to January 2013, before he left Kansas City for Mexico.

He told them that his cousin, Valencia, would continue selling.

They bought meth from Valencia five times, and he told them he sent the money to his cousin in Mexico.

In April 2013, investigators saw Valencia meet Rodriguez-Maynez and Rodriguez-Ponce and make a transaction after the two had driven in from Mexico.

They found 33 bundles of cash, $330,000, stashed in a hidden compartment of a Honda Odyssey.

The same day, investigators searched Valencia’s residence and seized about five kilograms of cocaine, more than $20,000 and Valencia’s truck.

In 2013, an informant purchased cocaine from Avitia, who later pleaded guilty for his role in the drug and money-laundering conspiracies.

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