Perry man arrested for mail-order meth business

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Cristian Banuelos, 20, of Perry was arrested Thursday on a U.S. Postal Inspection warrant for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance-methamphetamine.

A Perry man faces federal charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance-methamphetamine after he was arrested outside the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) office in Perry, where he came to pick up about four pounds of meth shipped from California.

Cristian Banuelos, 20, of Perry was arrested June 21 by officers of the Perry Police Department on a charge of controlled substance violation, but those state-level  charges were dismissed Thursday after Banuelos was arrested on a U.S. Postal Inspection warrant and “charged for the same crimes in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa,” according to an order signed by Dallas County District Court Judge Terry Rickers.

According to a criminal complaint filed June 21 by the Perry Police Department, Banuelos drove to the Perry Post Office June 21 after retrieving a USPS delivery notice from a Perry residence. He then directed his girlfriend, Cameron Onnen of Perry, to enter the Post Office and retrieve the parcel.

“The mailed piece was then brought out of the Post Office to the vehicle Banuelos was operating,” the complaint said, and “Banuelos and his girlfriend were then contacted by” Perry Police Officers, inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

According to the Perry complaint, Onnen gave law enforcement consent to open the parcel, which “contained four bundles of methamphetamine (estimated four pounds).” Onnen also told police that Banuelos arranged with people in California to have methamphetamine mailed to him in Perry and said she was aware Banuelos was distributing methamphetamine in and around the Perry area.

A similar account appears in an affidavit filed June 25 by U.S.Postal Inspector W. Kevin Marshall in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ross A. Walters in Des Moines.

According to the affidavit, “there is probable cause to believe that Cristian Banuelos and Cameron Jonay Onnen committed violations of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846 and 841(b)(l)(A), conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine.”

Marshall described obtaining a federal search warrant June 20 and opening the parcel, finding and positively field testing the meth and then repackaging a part of the drugs for a “controlled delivery” of the parcel, executed June 21 by USPIS inspectors and DEA special agents.

According to the affidavit, after Banuelos was detained by law enforcement and had his Miranda rights read, he “told law enforcement he was involved in receiving mailed parcels from California which contained narcotics. Banuelos detailed he would receive the mailings for other individuals, to whom he would then pass the mailings in exchange for methamphetamine and/or U.S. currency. Banuelos later stopped answering questions and asked to have an attorney present.”

Banuelos was scheduled for a preliminary and detention hearing Friday, June 28 at 3:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Celeste F. Bremer in Des Moines.

*A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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