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Belmond man pleads guilty to receiving over 10 pounds of meth from Mexico to deal in Wright county area

SIOUX CITY – A Belmond man plead guilty in federal court in Sioux City to receiving over 10 pounds of meth from Mexico by mail to deal in the Wright county area.

Rafael Perez-Mercado, 29, from Belmond, Iowa, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. During the investigation, it was also determined that Perez-Mercado was in the United States illegally.

At the plea hearing, Perez-Mercado admitted that between on or about September 2020 and continuing to on or about October 22, 2020, he and others were responsible for the distribution of over ten pounds of methamphetamine in the Wright County area. On October 8, 2020, law enforcement intercepted a package from Mexico destined to be ultimately delivered to Perez-Mercado. On October 22, 2020, law enforcement made a controlled delivery of the package to Perez-Mercado’s residence. Perez-Mercado was captured while exiting the rear of his residence as a law enforcement agent attempted to make contact with him at the front door. Law enforcement seized nine 1-pound packages of methamphetamine from a bag dropped by Perez-Mercado as he attempted to flee from the agents. Later that same day, during the execution of a search warrant at Perez-Mercado’s residence, law enforcement seized two 1-pound packages of methamphetamine from inside a statute delivered to Perez-Mercado. Law enforcement also found evidence of methamphetamine smuggling in Perez-Mercado’s garage.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Perez-Mercado remains in custody of the United States Marshal pending sentencing. Perez-Mercado 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 5 years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde and was investigated by Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Iowa DCI, Homeland Security Investigations/ICE, and Eagle Grove Police Department.

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