Belmond man pleads guilty to meth conspiracy

SIOUX CITY — A Belmond man has pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine in the Wright County area.

Rafael Perez-Mercado, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.

At his plea hearing, Perez-Mercado admitted to distributing more than 10 pounds of meth in the Wright County area between September 2020 and Oct. 22, 2020.

According to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa, law enforcement had intercepted a package from Mexico on Oct. 8, 2020, that was to be delivered to Perez-Mercado. Officers then made a “controlled delivery” of the package on Oct. 22, 2020, where Perez-Mercado was captured and arrested.

Law enforcement seized nine one-pound packages of meth from a bag the suspect dropped as he attempted to flee. In a search warrant later that day, two one-pound packages of meth from the inside of a statue delivered to Perez-Mercado were also seized.

Evidence of meth smuggling was also found in Perez-Mercado’s garage.

Perez-Mercado faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, with a possible maximum sentence of life, a $10 million fine and at least five years of supervised release following any prison sentence.

During the investigation, it was also determined that Perez-Mercado was in the United States illegally.


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