FRESNO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Leonard Luera, 24, of Hanford, pleaded guilty today to unlawful use of a telephone in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Kings County Narcotic Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the California Department of Justice Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, working closely with the local agencies of Hanford Police Department, Lemoore Police Department, Corcoran Police Department, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, Visalia Police Department, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, and the California Highway Patrol. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Marshals Service provided assistance. Assistant United States Attorneys Kimberly Sanchez and Kathleen Servatius are prosecuting the case.
According to court documents, between December 2009 and June 2010, Luera was a member of Nuestra Familia (NF) in Kings County, and helped to distribute methamphetamine and collected proceeds from methamphetamine sales transacted by other NF members and associates. The NF obtained large shipments of methamphetamine such as a 10-pound shipment on May 3, 2010 and a 20-pound shipment on June 2, 2010. These shipments were distributed by the NF throughout California and elsewhere. According to the plea agreement, Luera used his phone to speak with Richard Antonio Salas on multiple occasions, facilitating the distribution of the methamphetamine.
Besides Luera, Salas, and 42 others have been charged in this case. The charges against them are pending they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Luera is scheduled to be sentenced on April 30, 2012 by United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill. The maximum statutory penalty for the charge is four years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.