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SIOUX CITY, Iowa – A man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine and distributed methamphetamine pleaded guilty Oct. 12, in federal court following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), joint law enforcement partner investigation.

Jose Duenas-Topete, 29, from Hawarden, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and one count of distributing methamphetamine.

At the plea hearing, Duenas-Topete admitted that from January 2020 to April 2, 2022, he and others in the conspiracy distributed at least 4.5 kilograms of pure methamphetamine in the Sioux City area.

On April 2, law enforcement officers conducted a controlled drug buy operation from the defendant and his co-conspirators. Duenas-Topete distributed over 3 kilograms of pure methamphetamine in exchange for $5,000. Law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of the vehicle in which Duenas-Topete was a passenger and seized approximately 1 pound of methamphetamine near where the defendant was sitting. Duenas-Topete further admitted that he received four shipments, each containing 5-6 pounds of methamphetamine from sources in Mexico to distribute to persons in the Sioux City and the Plymouth County areas.

Sentencing before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Duenas-Topete remains in United States Marshals Service (USMS) custody pending sentencing. On each conviction, Duenas-Topete faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a possible maximum sentence of life imprisonment, a $10,000,000 fine, and at least five years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was investigated by the Sioux City-based, Tri-State Drug Task Force, which consists of law enforcement personnel from HSI; Drug Enforcement Administration; Sioux City Police Department; Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office; South Sioux City, Nebraska, Police Department; Nebraska State Patrol; Iowa National Guard; Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement; USMS; South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation; and the Woodbury County Attorney’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shawn S. Wehde. Court file information at

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat narcotics in your community on Twitter, @HSIKansasCity.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

ICE breaking news HSI, joint law enforcement investigation leads to Iowa man pleading guilty to methamphetamine charges Government Agency News