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Man accused of having 23 kg meth sentenced after lab shows it wasn't all meth
2016 federal courthouse
Sidney O. Smith Federal Building & United States Courthouse - photo by Erin Smith

A Mexican man has taken a plea deal in a federal methamphetamine case. 

Juan Ignacio Hernandez-Pacheco, of Michoacan, Mexico, was sentenced to eight years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine.

He and Israel Bustis-Padilla, also of Michoacan, Mexico, were arrested following an investigation in August by the Gainesville-Hall County Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad and the Department of Homeland Security. Authorities said at the time that they seized packaging materials, chemicals and a ledger from a house on James Ed Road off of U.S. 129/Cleveland Highway. 

According to a sentencing memo filed by defense attorney James Wesley Bryant, Hernandez-Pacheco took a plea agreement based on two packages discovered during a search, one believed to be 23.3 kilograms of crystal meth and a second package with 7.07 kilograms of liquid meth.

“After entering into the plea agreement, the government provided lab reports, showing that the 23.3 kilograms of suspected crystal methamphetamine was dimethyl sulfone — what the government contends is a cutting agent — and contained no methamphetamine,” according to the sentencing memo.

Because he was then only responsible for roughly 7 kilograms of drugs, Hernandez-Pacheco was eligible for a lesser range of possible sentences.

Bryant said Hernandez-Pacheco does not have a criminal history. The defense attorney said his client faced challenges early in his life, living in a one-room home without running water or electricity.

After he is released from prison, Hernandez-Pacheco will be remanded to immigration officials for removal proceedings from the country.

Bustis-Padilla’s case is still open.

Bryant did not return a request for comment.

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