Man sentenced to life in prison after leading multinational drug organization

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A 44-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison after distributing hundreds of pounds of ice methamphetamine.

Jose Maria Valencia from a Ruana, Michoacán, Mexico, was sentenced Tuesday after pleading guilty on February 6 to conspiracy to distribute at least 500 grams of methamphetamine by a drug felon.

Valencia was sent to California state prison in 2013 after being convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.

While in jail, Valencia ran his drog organization using contraband like cell phones to arrange to import methamphetamine from Mexico into the U.S.

After the methamphetamine was in the U.S., it would then be transported to places like Iowa, usually in concealed vehicles.

During the conspiracy, Valencia recruited, managed, and supervised people in the organization, while being responsible for distributing at least 250 pounds of ice methamphetamine.

Valencia was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge Linda R. Reade.

Valencia is being held in the U.S. Marshal's custody until he can be returned to state custody in California.