ST. PAUL, Minn. – A federal jury convicted a California man for participating in a methamphetamine and heroin trafficking conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk.
Following a three-day trial before Judge Eric C. Tostrud, Joel Llamas Garcia, 49, was convicted of a single count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin.
According to the evidence presented at trial, on September 21, 2020, law enforcement received information that three California men, Garcia and two co-conspirators, had traveled to Minnesota for a narcotics transaction and were staying at a motel in Maplewood, Minnesota. Since arriving in Minnesota, the men had taken possession of the narcotics and arranged for another individual, who turned out to be an undercover law enforcement officer, to take possession of the narcotics for safekeeping. Later that same day, the undercover officer arrived at the motel and received from Garcia a duffel bag containing 19.46 pounds of methamphetamine that was divided into 20 small plastic containers, and six bricks of heroin that weighed a total of 13.11 pounds.
The following day, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant on the motel room and the vehicle Garcia and his co-conspirators drove from California. Officers arrested Garcia and found .277 grams of methamphetamine on his person.
Garcia faces up to life in prison. At sentencing, a federal district court judge will determine the sentence accounting for the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.
This case was the result of an investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, IRS-CI, Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Police Department, Minnesota State Patrol and the Ramsey County Sherriff’s Office.
This case was tried by Assistant U.S. Attorneys LeeAnn K. Bell and Jordan L. Sing.