CEDAR RAPIDS – Three men who were involved in a Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization were sentenced today to significant time in federal prison.
Levi Dull, age 43, from Cedar Falls, Iowa, received the prison term after a February 28, 2022 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Ruben Vasquez, age 44, a citizen of Mexico, received the prison term after a May 2, 2022 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Narciso Chinchillas Sanchez, age 23, a citizen of Mexico, received the prison term after a March 1, 2022 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Evidence at their respective sentencings showed that Dull, Vasquez, and Chinchillas Sanchez were members of a Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization that was distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl in the Waterloo, Iowa, area. Starting no later than January 2021 and continuing until August 2021, a Mexico‑based source of supply provided Dull with at least 42 pounds of methamphetamine that was imported from Mexico. In the spring or early summer of 2021, Dull owed money to the Mexico‑based organization, so his supplier enlisted Vasquez to give Dull a pound of meth, provided he could pay for it. Dull could then sell the meth and use the proceeds to repay his debt. Vasquez distributed at least 11 pounds of methamphetamine to Dull. At some point in the early summer of 2021, the Mexico‑based supplier directed Chinchillas Sanchez to travel to Waterloo and assist in distributing methamphetamine to Dull. Chinchillas Sanchez distributed at least 30 pounds of methamphetamine to Dull.
On August 14, 2021, Dull distributed a substance containing fentanyl that eventually resulted in two men overdosing, with one of the men dying as a result. On August 18, 2021, law enforcement officers searched Dull’s home in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Dull’s storage unit in Waterloo. The officers recovered two guns, including one that was stolen, ammunition, almost 300 grams of methamphetamine, almost 2 grams of a substance containing heroin and fentanyl, and several other controlled substances.
On October 25, 2021, law enforcement officers searched Chinchillas Sanchez’s home in Waterloo. They recovered over 90 pounds of methamphetamine and almost 23 pounds of fentanyl, including approximately 34,380 pills containing fentanyl. Most of the methamphetamine seized from Chinchillas Sanchez’s house was hidden behind drywall in the basement.
Dull, Vasquez, and Chinchillas Sanchez were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Dull was sentenced to 270 months’ imprisonment, and he was ordered to serve a 5‑year term of supervised release after the prison term. Vasquez was sentenced to 170 months’ imprisonment, and he was ordered to serve a 5‑year term of supervised release after the prison term. Chinchillas Sanchez was sentenced to 158 months’ imprisonment, and he was ordered to serve at 5‑year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Methamphetamine and fentanyl ruin lives, and in some cases end them. People who distribute meth and fentanyl in our communities will always be a primary prosecutorial target of our office,” said United States Attorney Timothy Duax.
Dull, Vasquez, and Chinchillas Sanchez are being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until they can be transported to a federal prison.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dillan Edwards 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 Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Tri-County Drug Enforcement Task Force consisting of the Waterloo Police Department, Cedar Falls Police Department, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Department, Evansdale Police Department, Waverly Police Department, Hudson Police Department, La Porte City Police Department, and the Bremer County Sheriff’s Department; the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and Homeland Security Investigations.