Man pleads guilty to million-dollar cocaine bust in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An Oklahoma man pleaded guilty in court on Monday for his role in a conspiracy to distribute over $1 million of cocaine in 2023 before being caught in Lafayette County, Missouri.

According to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, 37-year-old Luis Gerardo Nieto-Acosta, a citizen of Mexico living in Oklahoma City, pleaded guilty on Monday to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, one count of possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute, and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime.

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He is the fourth and final person to plead guilty in this case.

The other individuals are co-defendants 25-year-old Wilmer Antony Mendoza-Perez, a citizen of Honduras, and 27-year-old Miguel Angel Anguiana-Viera. Both live in Oklahoma City. The third is 29-year-old Jose Eduardo Acosta-Bermejo, a citizen of Mexico who lives in Bethany, Oklahoma.

The news release said on January 24, 2023, a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer stopped a Penske rental truck headed eastbound on Interstate 70. It was said to have been driven by Mendoza-Perez.

While attempting to pull over the rental truck, Nieto-Acosta and Acosta-Bermejo, in a Toyota Highlander, tried to prevent the officer from getting behind the truck. The officer, however, was able to initiate the stop, and the two men continued eastbound on Interstate 70.

According to the rental agreement for the truck, it was rented in Oklahoma City four days prior by a woman not seen at the time of the stop. It was scheduled to be returned to Fullerton, California, on January 26, 2023, and when asked about this, Mendoza-Perez could not explain why he was in Missouri.

The officer then searched the rear cargo area of the truck and found two boxes filled with 34 kilograms of cocaine. According to the release, the average street price for a kilogram of cocaine in Kansas City, at that time, was $30,000. This would make the total $1,020,000 for the delivery.

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As for Nieto-Acosta and Acosta-Bermejo, the Toyota Highlander was found abandoned at a truck stop a few miles away. Inside the vehicle, officers found two handguns, four magazines and ammunition.

In a surveillance video from the truck stop, investigators saw Anguiano-Viera with an under age girl passenger pick up Nieto-Acosta and Acosta-Bermejo in a Honda Pilot. Shortly after, the Honda was located at a convenience store in Odessa, Missouri, and the passengers were arrested.

The release said, under federal statutes, Nieto-Acosta could face a minimum sentence of 15 years without parole and up to a life sentence without parole, in a federal prison.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after investigations are completed. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert M. Smith and John C. Constance, and it was investigated by the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office, the Kansas City Airport Police, MSHP and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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