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Man gets 8-year sentence for role in Kansas City meth trafficking ring

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(The Center Square) – A man received an 8.5-year prison sentence for his involvement in a Kansas City metro-based drug trafficking ring earlier this month.

Edwar Salazar-Belleda, 34, pleaded guilty to “one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine,” according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Kansas.

The man partook in an international drug trafficking ring that sold meth illegally smuggled from Mexico. His co-conspirators illegally laundered proceeds as wire payments to people in Mexico and California.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations led an undercover investigation into this from August 2019 to May 2021. The agencies made multiple purchases of meth, heroin, and firearms during the investigation.

Romel Alvarado-Calderon, 27, of Kansas City, Kansas, headed the criminal operation, and Salazar-Belleda was his broker.

Law enforcement arrested Salazar-Belleda in April 2021 after they found a trash bag containing 7.57 kilograms of 98.6% pure meth in his hotel room. Additionally, law enforcement found digital scales, meth, heroin, a stolen firearm, and ammunition in his suitcase.

During the conspiracy investigation, over 150 kilograms of meth, 11 ounces of heroin, marijuana, and many firearms were purchased and seized.

Romel Alvarado-Calderon, Victor Troches-Reyes, 42, Hervey Moreno-Gonzalez, 32, Jesus Vigil-Canales, 44, and Victor Pardo-Jimenez, 34, all pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over 50 grams of methamphetamine.

Plus, Juana Infante-Garcia, 36, Gabriela Garcia-Rojas, 28, and Sergio Galvez-Rodriguez, 34, each pleaded guilty to a count of conspiracy to launder drug proceeds.

Some additional defendants have cases pending in court.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigation investigated this case; Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michelle McFarlane, David Zabel, and Sheri Catania prosecuted it.

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