Crime & Courts

Wichita man planned to get a house 'exclusively' for storing meth

A Wichita man was convicted of conspiring to sell meth in South Dakota. Authorities say he planned to rent a house there to store the meth in.
A Wichita man was convicted of conspiring to sell meth in South Dakota. Authorities say he planned to rent a house there to store the meth in. The Kansas City Star

A Wichita man whose drug-selling scheme included renting a home that would be used exclusively to store methamphetamine has been ordered to spend 30 years in federal prison.

Justin Morales — who also goes by "Speedy" — was sentenced Friday for conspiring to distribute 500 or more grams of meth in South Dakota, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. He was prosecuted in the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.

Morales, 36, was arrested in Sioux Falls and indicted by a federal grand jury in 2016. The news release says that after federal law enforcement officials learned that Morales was peddling meth, they started working with an informant to gather details about the scheme.

During a drug deal with the informant for five ounces of meth, Morales was caught on tape saying he'd sold the drug in several South Dakota cities and on at least one Indian reservation. He also said on the recording that he planned to get a house on Sioux Falls that would be used exclusively to store meth in.

During another meeting in September 2016, the informant recorded Morales saying that he was preparing to ship 20 pounds of meth to Sioux Falls and that he had rented a home on the west side of the city where he planned to keep it. That same day, law enforcement found three pounds of marijuana, two pounds of meth and a semi-automatic pistol that belonged to Morales and two of his associates, Chase and Daniel Guzman. The men were arrested and brought to court on federal charges.

Much of the meth sold in South Dakota is 100 percent pure, suggesting it is brought to the U.S. from Mexico and is produced and controlled by Mexican drug cartels, the news release said.

Each pound nets more than 1,000 doses for typical meth users.

The Guzmans were ordered to serve 10 and 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty, according to the news release.

Morales was convicted by a federal jury in Sioux Falls in February. His lengthy criminal history includes a domestic battery case that is still pending in Wichita, the news release said.

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Amy Renee Leiker: 316-268-6644, @amyreneeleiker

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