Mexican national illegally in Springfield pleads guilty to meth conspiracy

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- A Mexican national who has illegally entered the United States at least seven times pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to distribute large amounts of methamphetamine in the Kansas City, Missouri, area and in the Springfield, Missouri, area.

Armando Quintana-Galaz, 37, a citizen of Mexico residing in Springfield, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lajuana M. Counts to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He also pleaded guilty to possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and to illegally reentering the United States after having been deported.

Quintana-Galaz had been deported from the United States six times before being arrested on Nov. 2, 2017, in Springfield. At that time, he was again illegally present in the United States. When law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Quintana-Galaz’s residence on that day, they found approximately 3.159 kilograms of pure methamphetamine in a hamper in the master bathroom and approximately 189 grams of pure methamphetamine in a dresser in the master bedroom. They found a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun, a Norinco SKS 762-caliber rifle, various ammunition, a bag that contained approximately four grams of cocaine, and six cell phones. They also found a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic handgun in his Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Officers also found $40,020 in a dresser in the master bedroom, $6,295 in the pocket of his pants that were on a TV stand, and $293 in a suitcase in the master bathroom closet. According to today’s plea agreement, the $46,608 seized from Quintana-Galaz’s residence would convert to more than 2.6 kilograms (2,642.6 grams) of methamphetamine.

Quintana-Galaz is the fifth defendant in this case to plead guilty. Quintana-Galaz admitted that he sold and distributed methamphetamine, that he received and transported illicit drug proceeds as part of his involvement in the conspiracy, and that he possessed several firearms found at his residence, at least in part, to further his involvement in the drug-trafficking conspiracy. Today’s plea agreement cites several instances in which Quintana-Galaz was involved in the distribution of methamphetamine to cooperating law enforcement sources.

Under federal statutes, Quintana-Galaz is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Trey Alford. It was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.