Man sentenced for role in Kansas City metro-based drug ring tied to Mexican cartel

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – A 34-year-old man will spend more than eight years in prison for his involvement in a Kansas City-metro based drug trafficking ring with ties to Mexico.

According to court documents, Edwar Salazar-Belleda pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy
to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

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He was sentenced Friday to eight years and six months in federal prison.

Salazar-Belleda was part of an international drug trafficking ring operating with meth brought in
from Mexico. The co-conspirators laundered illegal proceeds as wire payments destined for individuals in Mexico and California, according to the Department of Justice.

From August 2019 through May 2021, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations led an undercover investigation which included multiple purchases of
meth, heroin, and firearms.

Romel Alvarado-Calderon, 27, of Kansas City, Kansas, was the head of the operation, and Salazar-Belleda acted as a broker, according to court documents.

In April 2021, Salazar-Belleda was arrested after a trash bag containing 7.57 kilograms of 98.6%
pure meth was found in his hotel room. Law enforcement also located digital scales, meth, heroin, a stolen firearm, and ammunition in his suitcase.

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Over the course of the investigation, more than 150 kilograms of meth, more than 11 ounces of heroin, marijuana, and numerous firearms were either purchased or seized.

Romel Alvarado-Calderon, Victor Troches-Reyes, 42, Hervey Moreno-Gonzalez, 32, Jesus Vigil-Canales, 44, and Victor Pardo-Jimenez, 34, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

Juana Infante-Garcia, 36, Gabriela Garcia-Rojas, 28, and Sergio Galvez-Rodriguez, 34, pleaded
guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder drug proceeds.

There are additional suspects who have cases pending in court.

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