Mexican national sentenced after 21-pound meth bust on South Dakota highway

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A man from Mexico was sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison after he was caught trafficking 21 pounds of methamphetamine through South Dakota.

Heriberto Navarro Ortiz, 33, of San Jose, Mexico will spend 20 months in federal prison after admitting to traveling with meth with the intent to distribute, according to a release from the United States Attorney’s Office in South Dakota.

In early Nov. 2018, Ortiz was hired to deliver meth from California to Minnesota. He flew from Guadalajara, Mexico to Tijuana, Mexico and crossed the border on foot. Ortiz was instructed to travel to California, pick up a car, and travel east. The vehicle contained about 21 pounds of methamphetamine.

On Nov. 22, a Trooper with the South Dakota Highway Patrol stopped Ortiz when he was caught speeding near mile marker 216 on Interstate 90, near Vivian. During a search of the vehicle, the trooper discovered a package containing meth under carpeting near the rear wheel well. Further search led to the discovering of 19 more hidden packages.

Testing at the South Dakota Public Health Laboratory concluded the packages contained 8.4 kilograms of pure methamphetamine.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Ortiz entered the U.S. at least seven or eight times before he was arrested.

“I want to commend the South Dakota Highway Patrol for its excellent work in apprehending this drug trafficker,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald Parsons. “Most of the meth trafficked in South Dakota and across the United States is produced by violent Mexican drug cartels and smuggled across our southern border. Federal, State, Local, and Tribal law enforcement authorities are working together to do everything possible to stamp out this poison and hold the traffickers accountable.”

Categories: Crime, Local News, South Dakota News