Four Oklahoma men indicted in Missouri after officers seize $1 million worth of cocaine in I-70 traffic stop

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Four Oklahoma men were indicted by a federal grand jury after law enforcement officers seized more than $1 million worth of cocaine from a rental truck that was stopped on Interstate 70 in Lafayette County, Mo.

Wilmer Antony Mendoza-Perez, 23, a citizen of Honduras, Luis Gerardo Nieto-Acosta, 35, a citizen of Mexico, and Miguel Angel Anguiano-Viera, 26, all of Oklahoma City, and Jose Eduardo Acosta-Bermejo, 28, a citizen of Mexico, of Bethany, Okla., were charged in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.

The indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against the four men on Jan. 25, 2023, with additional charges.

The federal indictment alleges that all four defendants participated in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine from Sept. 1, 2022, to Jan. 25, 2023. All four defendants are also charged with possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Nieto-Acosta and Acosta-Bermejo are also charged together in one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime. They allegedly possessed two Taurus 9mm semi-automatic handguns, with four magazines and 9mm ammunition.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, an officer with the Missouri State Highway Patrol stopped Mendoza-Perez on Jan. 24, 2023, as he was driving a Penske rental truck eastbound on Interstate 70 in Lafayette County. A Toyota Highlander later determined to be occupied by Nieto-Acosta and Acosta-Bermejo, attempted to prevent the officer from getting behind the Penske truck to initiate a stop.

The officer searched the truck and found two boxes that allegedly contained a total of 34 kilograms of cocaine. According to the affidavit, the current average street price in the Kansas City metropolitan area for a kilogram of cocaine is approximately $30,000, which would make 34 kilograms of cocaine worth approximately $1,020,000.

Mendoza-Perez was arrested. The Toyota Highlander was found abandoned at the Pilot truck stop a few miles away. Investigators later searched the Highlander and found the two handguns. One of the handguns was found in a suitcase behind the front passenger seat, which also contained a receipt that showed Acosta-Bermejo as the purchaser.

Investigators reviewed surveillance video at the truck stop, which showed a third vehicle, a Honda Pilot occupied by Anguiano-Viera and a juvenile female, arrived at the truck stop and picked up Nieto-Acosta and Acosta-Bermejo. A short time later, this vehicle was located, and the occupants arrested.

The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bruce Rhoades and Robert Smith. It was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Lafayette County Sherriff’s Office and Drug Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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