United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced the conviction of JOSE ANDRES VERA-GUTIERREZ, a/k/a “Bullet,” 36, for methamphetamine trafficking. After a six-day trial before U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the jury found VERA-GUTIERREZ guilty of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on VERA-GUTIERREZ’S co-defendant, MARIBEL TORRES, who was also charged with one count of conspiracy.
“Jose Andres Vera-Gutierrez and his co-conspirators were responsible for trafficking significant amounts of methamphetamine across the country into Minnesota,” said Assistant United States Attorney LeeAnn K. Bell. “This guilty verdict demonstrates yet again law enforcement’s commitment to stopping methamphetamine traffickers from bringing this devastating drug into our communities.”
According to the evidence presented at trial, in December 2016, law enforcement commenced a wiretap investigation that led to a 25-pound methamphetamine seizure on January 18, 2017. VERA-GUTIERREZ and three co-conspirators arranged for the methamphetamine to be transported from California to Minnesota inside hidden compartments in an SUV. On January 18, 2017, the SUV and a trailing passenger car were traveling together on Interstate 35 when a Minnesota State Trooper stopped the SUV for speeding. During the traffic stop, the accompanying passenger car continued driving. Law enforcement found nine packages of methamphetamine hidden behind the panel above the SUV’s rear driver-side wheel and an additional 16 packages hidden behind the panel over the passenger-side wheel. The next morning, law enforcement determined that the passenger car had traveled to VERA-GUTIERREZ’S residence in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Dakota County Drug Task Force, Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Police, Bloomington Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn K. Bell is prosecuting the case.
JOSE ANDRES VERA-GUTIERREZ, a/k/a “Bullet,” 36
Brooklyn Park, Minn.
- Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, 1 count