Missouri man sentenced to 10 year prison term for $1 million meth conspiracy near elementary school

Meth with police banner

A Missouri man has been sentenced in federal court for his role in a conspiracy that converted large amounts of liquid methamphetamine into crystal methamphetamine at a rented house near George Melcher Elementary School in Kansas City, Mo.

Ruben Ortiz-Vieyra, 43, of Kansas City, a lawful permanent resident of the United States from Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough on Wednesday, Aug. 3, to 10 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Ortiz-Vieyra to forfeit to the government $1,020,000, which was received for the unlawful distribution of methamphetamine, based on a sale price of $600 per ounce and the distribution of 1,800 ounces (112.5 pounds) of methamphetamine. The court ordered Ortiz-Vieyra to spend 10 years on supervised release following incarceration.

On Jan. 12, 2022, Ortiz-Vieyra pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school from Jan. 1, 2014, to May 18, 2018. Co-defendants Jose Vieyra-Lopez, 37, a citizen of Mexico; Megan Eubanks, 40, of Kansas City, Mo., and Victor Suarez-Gallardo, 34, of Kansas, have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

In addition to the drug-trafficking conspiracy, Ortiz-Vieyra, Vieyra-Lopez, and Suarez-Gallardo each pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school. Ortiz-Vieyra, Suarez-Gallardo, and Eubanks each also pleaded guilty to one count of possessing or using firearms with drug trafficking. Ortiz-Vieyra also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess or use firearms with drug trafficking.

Ortiz-Vieyra supplied methamphetamine to Eubanks. Vieyra-Lopez was the drug runner for Ortiz-Vieyra.

On April 26, 2018, a confidential informant purchased one-half pound of methamphetamine from Eubanks for $3,000 in a transaction that involved Ortiz-Vieyra. On May 2, 2018, the confidential informant purchased one pound of methamphetamine from Eubanks for $5,000. Ortiz-Vieyra was also involved in the transaction. On May 8, 2018, the confidential informant purchased one-half pound of methamphetamine. Ortiz-Vieyra and Vieyra-Lopez were involved in the transaction.

On May 15, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Eubanks’s residence. Officers seized methamphetamine, marijuana, a Ruger .380-caliber pistol, a box of ammunition, a counterfeit $100 bill, and drug paraphernalia.

On May 17, 2018, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at a Kansas City, Mo., residence controlled by Ortiz-Vieyra and Suarez-Gallardo. There was no furniture or other items inside the residence to make it appear occupied. Instead, officers found a black cooking stand that had a pan sitting on top that contained liquid methamphetamine. The residence is approximately 484 feet from George Melcher Elementary School.

Ortiz-Vieyra rented houses where liquid methamphetamine was converted into a crystallized form of methamphetamine for sale, including approximately five pounds of methamphetamine approximately one week before his arrest on May 17, 2018. Ortiz-Vieyra sold methamphetamine to Eubanks and others. The next day Suarez-Gallardo, who had also been observed at the residence where methamphetamine was being converted, was arrested. Officers found acetone and a Berretta .45-caliber firearm at his residence. Suarez-Gallardo distributed 10 to 15 pounds of methamphetamine from the conversion lab.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bruce Rhoades and Robert Smith. It was investigated by the Jackson County Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration.