Man sentenced to 15 years in Missouri prison for distributing nearly 6,000 pounds of cocaine in the KC area

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A man who led a $ 56 million criminal enterprise was tried in federal court for his role in the conspiracy that distributed more than 2,600 kilograms of cocaine across the metropolitan area.

Jose Luis Armendariz-Rascon, Kansas City, Kansas, also known as “Uncle” or “Rambo,” 40, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison without parole by US District Judge Beth Phillips. The court also ordered Armendariz-Rascon to withhold more than $ 56 million from the government, which is the proceeds from illicit drug trafficking.

On January 22, 2020, Armendariz-Rascon pleaded guilty to his role in the drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy. Armendariz-Rascon admitted buying and distributing 10 to 15 kilograms of cocaine powder per week over a period of about four years.

Armendariz-Rascon was responsible for coordinating the transportation of loads of cocaine from the El Paso, Texas area to the Kansas City metropolitan area for distribution. Armendariz-Rascon would then coordinate the collection of cash that was sent back to El Paso as payment for the cocaine.

Armendariz-Rascon is among the 13 defendants convicted in this case, 12 of whom have now been convicted. Howard Christopher Walters, also known as “Chris,” 43, of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, was born on Jan.

Co-defendant Otilio Zaragoza-Navarrette, 64, of El Paso, supplied cocaine to Jose Armendariz-Rascon and co-defendants Miguel Armendariz-Rascon, 33, a Mexican citizen residing in Olathe, Kansas, and Jesus Salvador Campoy -Estrada, also known as “Chava” and “Chavita”, 26, from Kansas City, Kan. Zaragoza-Navarrette and Miguel Armendariz-Rascon pleaded guilty and were convicted. Campoy-Estrada pleaded guilty and is awaiting conviction.

Zaragoza Navarette also transported illicit drug proceeds from the drug trafficking organization back to Texas and / or Mexico. Zaragoza-Navarrette hid the cocaine and / or cash proceeds in five-gallon gas canisters and antifreeze jugs on its commercial truck.

In one case, law enforcement officers seized nearly $ 500,000 from Zaragoza Navarrette, which was transferring proceeds from illicit drugs in an operation staged by Armendariz-Rascon. On May 21, 2017, investigators monitored an apartment in the 4700 block of North Mulberry Court in Kansas City when Campoy-Estrada was driving a white Chevrolet van with Miguel Armendariz-Rascon in the passenger seat. Investigators followed the van as it pulled into the Candlewood Suites area at 4450 Randolph Road, Kansas City and turned onto Corrington Road on the west side of the Candlewood Suites. The van was parked in front of a diesel truck. Campoy-Estrada carried a white plastic jug from the van to the passenger side of the truck. Campoy-Estrada then returned to the van with a red plastic canister and placed the petrol can in the rear of the van. Campoy-Estrada and Miguel Armendariz-Rascon then left the area.

Police officers continued to monitor the semi-trailer truck being driven by Zaragoza-Navarrette as it exited the Candlewood Suites and headed north on I-35. The Missouri State Highway Patrol conducted a traffic check on the articulated truck at mile marker 68. Soldiers searched the vehicle and found a red 5-gallon plastic tank and two white plastic jugs that held a total of $ 491,211.

A confidential source said the drug trafficking organization bought cocaine for approximately $ 27,000 to $ 27,500 per kilogram. Accordingly, $ 491,211 in illicit drug revenue would be converted into 15 to 19 kilograms of cocaine powder.

This case is being prosecuted by US assistant attorneys Trey Alford and Robert Smith. It has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Police Department.


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