In a little more than an hour, a Hennepin County jury convicted a man of playing a major role in a large interstate methamphetamine ring.
Pedro Ayala-Leyva, 37, also known as Peli, was found guilty late Thursday afternoon of first-degree drug-trafficking conspiracy for the ring, which ran from the Twin Cities to California. He is the last of 11 major defendants to be convicted following the eight-month investigation by St. Paul police, the FBI and other agencies.
The Hennepin County attorney's office will seek a 30-year prison term for Ayala-Leyva, who is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 29.
The case involved smuggling meth from California to Ayala-Leyva's stash house in Brooklyn Park and another in Cottage Grove. The drugs were then distributed to cities such as St. Paul, St. Cloud and Eau Claire, Wis.
The case broke Feb. 18 when investigators asked the Minnesota State Patrol to stop Daniel Samorano as he was driving his car from California. A search of the vehicle revealed a hidden compartment and 10 pounds of meth.
Seven other lower-level defendants are scheduled for trial early next year.