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Waterloo man sent to prison for conspiring to deal methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine from Mexico

CEDAR RAPIDS - A man who moved to Waterloo to deal drugs from Mexico was sentenced this week to significant time in federal prison.
Federal courthouse, Northern District of Iowa in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS – A man who moved to Waterloo to deal drugs from Mexico was sentenced this week to significant time in federal prison.

Jesse Lax (pictured above), age 38, from Waterloo, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 8, 2023 guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Luis Carlos Corral Lopez, age 32, from Caborca, Sonora, Mexico, received the prison term after a February 9, 2023 jury verdict finding him guilty of one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Evidence disclosed at Corral Lopez’s trial, Lax’s sentencing, and the sentencings of others involved in the Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization showed that, in either 2015 or 2016, Lax met a man who later moved to Mexico and became a source of supply of methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine for Lax while they were incarcerated together in the Colorado Department of Corrections. In the Spring of 2019, the source of supply directed Lax and his then‑girlfriend Sandra Deyerle to drive to Detroit, Michigan, where Lax obtained three kilograms of heroin.

In May 2019, the source of supply directed Lax and Deyerle to move to Waterloo, Iowa. After they arrived, Lax began distributing methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine, and he frequently possessed a firearm while doing so.

In June 2019, the source of supply directed Lax to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Lax obtained eight kilograms of cocaine. Lax then brought all the cocaine back to Waterloo, and he distributed it to others.

In July 2019, and in August or September 2019, the source of supply directed Lax and Deyerle to travel to Bell Gardens, California, where they obtained three pounds of ice methamphetamine, which had been imported from Mexico, each time. After Lax and Deyerle acquired the ice methamphetamine, they mailed it back to Waterloo and later distributed all the methamphetamine to others.

In December 2019, the source of supply directed Lax and Deyerle to travel to Bell Gardens, California again, where they obtained at least 19 ounces of ice methamphetamine, which had been imported from Mexico.

On January 20, 2020, Lax shot another man in the neck during a methamphetamine‑related encounter. After he was arrested for the shooting, Lax directed Deyerle to take over his role within the Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization.

After Deyerle assumed Lax’s role, Deyerle distributed all the remaining methamphetamine Lax and Deyerle had obtained from California in December 2019. The source of supply then directed Deyerle to make three or four separate trips to California, where Deyerle obtained a total of approximately 21 pounds of ice methamphetamine, which had been imported from Mexico. Deyerle then mailed the methamphetamine to Iowa, and she distributed all of it to others.

Once Deyerle had distributed the 21 pounds of ice methamphetamine she obtained from California, the source of supply coordinated the delivery of at least 150 pounds of ice methamphetamine that had been imported from Mexico to Deyerle in Iowa via rail car in the Summer and Fall of 2020. On October 30, 2020, law enforcement officers searched several places in Iowa connected to the Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization, including Deyerle’s residence and storage units. During those searches, officers seized at least 75 pounds of ice methamphetamine, over 500 grams of heroin, $23,950, and two firearms.

Following the October 30, 2020, seizures, the Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization sent Corral Lopez to Waterloo. At some point after he arrived, the organization directed Corral Lopez to travel to an unidentified city, where Corral Lopez and two others acquired approximately 22 pounds of ice methamphetamine, which had been imported from Mexico. Corral Lopez then brought the 22 pounds of ice methamphetamine back to Waterloo, and he distributed all of it to others, including Levi Dull.

In the late Spring or early Summer of 2021, the Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization sent Narciso Chinchillas Sanchez to replace Corral Lopez in Waterloo. After he arrived, Chinchillas Sanchez distributed methamphetamine to others in Waterloo and elsewhere, including Levi Dull.

On August 18, 2021, law enforcement officers searched Dull’s house in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and his storage unit in Waterloo. During those searches, officers seized almost 300 grams of ice methamphetamine, two grams of a heroin/fentanyl mixture, and two firearms, including one that was stolen.

On October 25, 2021, law enforcement officers searched Chinchillas Sanchez’s house in Waterloo. During the search, officers seized over 90 pounds of ice 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.

Around the time of the October 25, 2021, search of Chinchillas Sanchez’s house, the source of supply began supplying ice methamphetamine to Andrew Surprenant. A wiretap of Surprenant’s telephone revealed that the source of supply provided Surprenant with at least 10 pounds of methamphetamine that was imported from Mexico. On January 12, 2022, law enforcement officers searched Surprenant’s house and storage unit. During those searches, officers seized over seven pounds of methamphetamine, seven firearms, and ammunition.

Lax and Corral Lopez were sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Lax was sentenced to 313 months’ imprisonment, and Corral Lopez was sentenced to 141 months’ imprisonment. They both must serve a five‑year term of supervised release after their respective prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Nine other individuals have pled guilty to their involvement with the Mexico‑based drug trafficking organization and have been sentenced:

Sandra Ann Deyerle was sentenced to 210 months’ imprisonment;
Jeremey Aswegan was sentenced to 262 months’ imprisonment;
Dana John Dana was sentenced to 234 months’ imprisonment;
Drew Scarborough was sentenced to 150 months’ imprisonment;
Levi Dull was sentenced to 270 months’ imprisonment;
Ruben Vasquez was sentenced to 170 months’ imprisonment;
Narciso Chinchillas Sanchez was sentenced to 158 months’ imprisonment;
Andrew Davis Surprenant was sentenced to 396 months’ imprisonment; and
Gabriel Allen Pelz was sentenced to 188 months’ imprisonment.

Lax and Corral Lopez 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; Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Green County Sheriff’s Office; and the Elbert, County Colorado Sheriff’s Office.

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