Hawarden Man Sentenced To Over 11 Years In Federal Prison On Drug, Immigration Charges

Sioux City, Iowa — A Hawarden man has been sentenced to over 11 years in federal prison for methamphetamine and immigration convictions.

According to the US Attorney’s Office in Sioux City, 29-year-old Jose Duenas-Topete of Hawarden pleaded guilty on October 12, 2022, to one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, one count of distributing methamphetamine, and one count of illegal reentry. He was sentenced this past week.

At the plea and sentencing hearings, the US Attorney’s office says the evidence showed that from January 2020 to April 2, 2022, as part of the conspiracy, Topete distributed at least 45 kilograms of methamphetamine in the Sioux City area. On April 2, 2022, law enforcement conducted a controlled drug buy/bust operation from Topete and his co-conspirators. They tell us agents observed Topete receive 10 pounds of methamphetamine, in exchange for an initial payment of $5000, from a transporter from Arkansas, sent by Mexico-based sources, at Topete’s request. Topete then transferred the majority of the methamphetamine to an informant working with agents. Thereafter, agents conducted traffic stops of the vehicles involved and seized from the various participants the 10 pounds of meth and the $5000 in buy money supplied by the agents. Topete later admitted he had previously received four shipments containing 5-6 pounds each of methamphetamine from sources in Mexico to distribute to persons in Sioux City and the surrounding area. Evidence further showed that Topete is a native and citizen of Mexico, illegally in the United States, and was subject to six previous removals from the United States.

Sentencing was held before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Duenas-Topete was sentenced to 138 months or 11 and a half years in federal prison and a 5-year term of supervised release following imprisonment. There is no parole in the federal system.