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Jury convicts Northern Iowa man for meth conspiracy

This news story was published on February 12, 2020.
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SIOUX CITY – A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine was convicted by a jury on February 7, 2020, after a four-day trial in federal court in Sioux City. Juan Lopez-Zuniga, 50, from Denison, Iowa, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. The verdict was returned following about 3 hours of jury deliberations.

The evidence at trial showed that Lopez-Zuniga was involved in a conspiracy that distributed more than 500 grams of methamphetamine from October 2015 through September 2016, out of the Denison, Iowa, area. Evidence showed that Lopez-Zuniga traveled with fellow coconspirators (some of whom have already been convicted for their participation) from Denison, Iowa, to Worthington, Minnesota to deliver half-pound quantities of meth for further distribution in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota. Lopez-Zuniga would then return to Denison with money from the drug sales.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Lopez-Zuniga was taken into custody by the United States Marshal after the verdict was returned and will remain in custody pending sentencing. Lopez-Zuniga faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $10,000,000 fine, and at least five years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program of the United States Department of Justice through a cooperative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Iowa Department of Narcotics Enforcement; Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension; South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; Buffalo Ridge Task Force (Worthington/ Nobles County, Minnesota); and the Internal Revenue Service.

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