Two sentenced on meth charges

Thursday, January 9, 2003

Two California men were sentenced Monday to federal prison on methamphetamine related charges. They appeared before U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel at the federal courthouse in Cape Girardeau.

Diego Santiesteban, 21, of Terra Bella, Calif., received 168 months and Jose Luis Labrada, 18, was sentenced to 87 months for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Upon release, the men will be placed on a five-year supervised parole.

On Oct. 7, 2002, the men pleaded guilty. They admitted that between October 2001 and June 2002, they, along with James Still Jr. and others, agreed to distribute meth. Still was prosecuted separately.

In October 2001, Still received about 2 pounds of meth from Santiesteban and Labrada and was not required to make payment to them until after he sold all of the drug. As the conspiracy continued, Still would drive to California to pick up meth from Santiesteban and Labrada, who would also travel to Missouri to deliver meth to him.

The last transaction between the men took place in early June, when the three rode from California to Missouri with about 1 pound of meth.

The three men then discussed continuing their distribution plan with Still's associate to help Still pay his legal fees. Shortly thereafter, Santiesteban and Labrada were arrested at the Super 8 Motel in Miner, Mo.

Several law enforcement agencies participated in the investigation, including the SEMO Drug Task Force, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Scott County Sheriff's Department. Special assistant U.S. attorney Abbie Crites-Leoni handled the prosecution.

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