A traffic stop in May led to the arrests, and agents found several pounds of the drug in their homes. They face life in prison if convicted.
Two St. Paul men were indicted Tuesday in federal court on charges of conspiring to sell methamphetamine after several pounds of the drug were found at their homes, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
Jesus Giovanni Gaxiola-Guevara, 22, and Martin Fidencio Gutierrez-Alarcon, 28, were charged with conspiracy to distribute 50 or more grams of meth and with possession with intent to distribute 50 or more grams of meth between February and May 16. If convicted, they could face life in prison.
According to affidavits, Gaxiola-Guevara was pulled over in May by Fergus Falls police for a traffic violation. During the stop, police searched his vehicle and found about $74,000 in a box in the back seat.
Gaxiola-Guevara said that he had been asked by a stranger to take the money to Chicago in exchange for $1,000. Gaxiola-Guevara told police that he had distributed about 5 pounds of meth in the Twin Cities within the past week. When police searched his apartment, they found approximately 2 pounds of suspected meth, two handguns, digital scales, drug notes and money transfer receipts, according to an affidavit.
Gaxiola-Guevara told police he came to Minnesota from Mexico in February to sell meth. In that time, he said, he had received a 12-pound shipment and two 5-pound shipments of the drug, most of which he distributed to customers in Minnesota.
During processing, Guevara-Gaxiola identified Gutierrez-Alacron as one of his customers. He said that a couple of days before he was pulled over, he had sold Gutierrez-Alacron 2 pounds of meth and that Gutierrez-Alacron had paid him $25,000 for a previous drug debt.
During a search of Gutierrez-Alacron's home, police found about 10 grams of meth in his bedroom and about a pound in his basement, as well as three sets of digital scales. Gutierrez-Alacron told police that the drugs in his bedroom were for his personal use but that the meth stored in a red cooler in the basement wasn't his and that someone else had left it there.
Agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and St. Paul police also worked on the investigation.
Last fall, a Minnesota meth dealer with ties to an infamous Mexican drug cartel was sentenced to more than nine years in prison as part of a large-scale investigation involving more than 3,000 officers in 19 states. At the time, officials said it was the largest single anti-drug trafficking action by law enforcement in U.S. history.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495 Twitter: @stribnorfleet