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Iowa man sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in bringing methamphetamine from Mexico

Federal courthouse, Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS – A Des Moines man, who was involved in the importation and distribution of multiple kilograms of methamphetamine was sentenced today to 16 years in federal prison.

Rogelio Lemus Hernandez, age 21, from Des Moines, Iowa, received the prison sentence after a May 6, 2021 guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Evidence at the plea and sentencing hearings showed that, in 2017, law enforcement began investigating a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking ring operating out of Mexico. The head of the organization, Mario Hernandez, was based in Mexico and worked with others, included Lemus Hernandez, to transport kilogram quantities of methamphetamine into Iowa. Lemus Hernandez was intercepted on a wiretap investigation speaking with Mario Hernandez. The two arranged for the transportation of methamphetamine into Iowa. In June 2020, law enforcement stopped a car occupied by Lemus Hernandez. The stop took place outside of Des Moines, Iowa. The car had travelled to Iowa from Texas. Inside the car, officers found nearly 5,000 grams of pure “ice” methamphetamine. Lemus Hernandez and an associate picked up the methamphetamine in Texas and drove it back to Iowa for the purpose that it be redistributed. In total, Lemus Hernandez’s role in the group involved over 43,000 grams of methamphetamine.

Lemus Hernandez was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Lemus Hernandez was sentenced to 192 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Corkery. This case 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 Mid-Iowa Task Force (Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, Tama County Sheriff’s Office, Marshalltown Police Department), Iowa National Guard and Counter Drug Program, Tri-County Task Force (Cedar Falls Police Department, Waterloo Police Department, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

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