Mexican man deported 6 times pleads guilty in Missouri meth conspiracy, feds say

A Mexican man who illegally entered the United States at least seven times is headed to prison after pleading guilty Thursday to drug trafficking charges in Missouri, according to federal prosecutors.

Armando Quintana-Galaz, 37, had been deported from the country six times by the time authorities raided his Springfield home in November 2017, discovering large stashes of drugs and arresting him, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri said in a news release on the guilty plea.

Prosecutors said the “plea agreement cites several instances in which Quintana-Galaz was involved in the distribution of methamphetamine to cooperating law enforcement sources.”

More than 3 kilograms of pure meth was found in a hamper in Quintana-Galaz’s master bathroom, as well as 189 grams of meth in a master bedroom dresser, prosecutors said.

Beyond drugs, authorities discovered “a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a Norinco SKS 762-caliber rifle, various ammunition, a bag that contained approximately four grams of cocaine, and six cellphones,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

There were large sums of cash throughout the home: “$40,020 in a dresser in the master bedroom, $6,295 in the pocket of his pants that were on a TV stand, and $293 in a suitcase in the master bathroom closet,” prosecutors said.

Quintana-Galaz pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and illegally re-entering the U.S. after having been deported, prosecutors said. He was the fifth person to plead guilty in the case and admitted to selling meth and distributing the proceeds, prosecutors said.

Quintana-Galaz will be sentenced to at least 10 years in federal prison and up to life without parole, prosecutors said.

An affidavit in the case said Quintana-Galaz “has prior arrests in Arizona for narcotic possession, along with illegal reentry into the United States in which he was convicted and sentenced to a 180-day term of imprisonment in a federal correctional institute.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.