Illinois resident sentenced to over a decade in federal prison for methamphetamine trafficking in Missouri

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Missouri – A citizen of Mexico, Juan Emilio Gomez-Padilla, 32, residing in Illinois, received an 11-year and six-month prison sentence without the possibility of parole from U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips. This sentence was handed down on Thursday, May 30, in a federal court following the discovery of over 88 pounds of methamphetamine in the car he was traveling in along Interstate 70. Additionally, Gomez-Padilla was ordered to surrender $5,505 that had been confiscated by police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Western District of Missouri said in a release.

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On January 5, 2024, Gomez-Padilla pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. He admitted his involvement as a passenger in a vehicle that was found with the methamphetamine in its trunk during a traffic stop by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper in Saline County, Missouri, on April 5, 2021.

Gomez-Padilla is the last of three defendants to be sentenced in this legal matter. His co-defendants, Jose Alfredo Renteria-Rojas, 35, and Gustavo Renteria-Rojas, 40, also Mexican nationals residing in Chicago, were each sentenced to the same length of time in federal prison without parole. They pleaded guilty to their involvement in the drug-trafficking operation and to illegal possession of a firearm.

Juan Emilio Gomez-Padilla, 32, residing in Illinois, received an 11-year and six-month prison sentence for meth trafficking in Missouri
Credit: Unsplash

The arrest occurred when all three were traveling in a white 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by Gustavo Renteria-Rojas, on eastbound Interstate 70 and were stopped by a state trooper in Saline County. As Jose Renteria-Rojas exited the car, the trooper noticed a loaded Smith & Wesson .380-caliber handgun with a magazine and an extra magazine in the door pocket. In the trunk, the trooper found four white cardboard boxes holding 36 packages of methamphetamine, totaling 88.7 pounds, alongside $5,505 in cash.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Q. McCarther. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

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