Federal prosecutors in Kansas City have charged a 30-year-old man as part of a large-scale methamphetamine trafficking ring with ties to Mexico.
The charge against Eric Rangel-Ortega was an offshoot from an undercover operation by Kansas City police and federal agents that earlier this year resulted in more than 60 people being charged with drug and illegal firearms violations.
Rangel-Ortega, also known as Kaliman, was arrested Friday, according to court records. He is in the United States illegally and allegedly conspired to sell more than 500 kilograms of methamphetamine from September to June.
According to the allegations, Rangel-Ortega arranged for some of the sales to undercover officers in Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan., while he was in Mexico.
Investigators first made contact with Rangel-Ortega last September, when he offered to sell two firearms to officers in the undercover investigation.
At that time, he also told the officers that he would sell them methamphetamine, according to court documents.
The charges against Rangel-Ortega filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City detail 11 subsequent transactions in which undercover officers allegedly bought drugs from Rangel-Ortega or Alejandro Valencia, who officers were told was his cousin.
After he told the officers he was in Mexico, Rangel-Ortega arranged for them to continue making drug purchases from Valenica.
Valencia, 30, was arrested in April and charged with two other men in a separate drug trafficking case.
At the time of those arrests, police recovered $352,000 and more than 5 kilograms of cocaine, according to court documents.
In one of the transactions outlined in court documents, Valencia brought his toddler daughter along when he allegedly sold 2 ounces of methamphetamine for $2,200.
The charge against Rangel-Ortega was filed in June under seal. The case was unsealed after his arrest and initial court appearance on Friday. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 10 years to life in prison.