Manager of Mexico-based drug trafficking organization sentenced to more than 20 years in prison


Date: May 24, 2024


A manager of a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization was sentenced today to 21 years and 10 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $1,339,500 for his role in an international drug trafficking conspiracy.

According to court documents, beginning around May 2013 and continuing to at least December 2016, Gabriel Cerda-Guillen, of Mexico, was a manager for a Mexico-based drug trafficking organization that served as a source of methamphetamine and marijuana supply for an Omaha, Nebraska-based distribution network. Specifically, from 2013 and through 2014, Cerda-Guillen imported marijuana and methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States and subsequently distributed those controlled substances to cities across the United States, including Omaha and the surrounding areas. During and in furtherance of the conspiracy, Cerda-Guillen participated in the shipment of an estimated 22 to 44 kilograms of methamphetamine and nearly one ton of marijuana. Cerda-Guillen imported drugs to Nebraska from Mexico with the expectation that members of local distribution networks would further distribute the drugs and remit the drug proceeds back to him after receiving payment. Cerda-Guillen provided drugs on credit or before payment was rendered, received reporting on the status of sales, and received drug proceeds through bulk cash transports or through established money laundering networks.

Cerda-Guillen pleaded guilty in December 2023 to a two-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana and conspiracy to conduct and attempt to conduct financial transactions, affecting interstate and foreign commerce, which involved proceeds of a specified unlawful activity.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Susan T. Lehr for the District of Nebraska; Special Agent in Charge Thomas F. Murdock of IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) St. Louis Field Office; Assistant Director Michael Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division; and Special Agent in Charge Eugene Kowel of the FBI Omaha Field Office made the announcement.

This investigation is supported by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF).

IRS-CI St. Louis Field Office and the FBI Omaha Field Office investigated the case.

Trial Attorneys Robert Sainvil and Douglas Meisel of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Molsen for the District of Nebraska prosecuted the case.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs and Office of Enforcement Operations provided significant assistance.