Two California men receive federal prison terms after attempting to distribute meth, other drugs in Adams County

West Central Illinois Task Force

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Two men from Santa Ana, Calif., recently were sentenced to multiple years in prison for trafficking narcotics to Central Illinois.

Cesar Lopez Reyes, 21, and Angel Tovar, 22, were each charged with conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

According to court documents and information presented at public court hearings, the two men had been using social media to conduct a mail-order drug business which distributed illegal narcotics via the U.S. Mail to Nevada, Oregon, North Carolina, Kentucky and multiple places in Illinois. Tovar conducted sales and Lopez Reyes assisted in shipping the illegal substances.

The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Illinois State Police West Central Illinois Task Force opened an investigation into the duo after intercepting a package containing methamphetamine, cocaine and counterfeit pills bound for Adams County, Illinois. The two men were arrested at their residences in Orange County, California. Law enforcement recovered an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at Tovar’s home.

Lopez Reyes was sentenced on Aug. 30 to five years of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Tovar was sentenced on Oct. 3 to 120 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by five years of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Colleen R. Lawless noted at both hearings that while neither man had any criminal convictions, each had committed a very serious offense.

Lopez Reyes pleaded guilty on April 25, and Tovar pleaded guilty on May 10.

“The distribution of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine and counterfeit pills, via social media is happening nationwide, and young adults are particularly susceptible to this type of marketing,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah E. Seberger said in a press release. “Our law enforcement partners’ work to stem this tide of illegal drug sales is vitally important to protect public safety. Counterfeit pills also are often not what they appear to be, exacerbating this danger of these sales and leading to potential overdoses. We are grateful for federal and local law enforcements’ combined efforts on this case.”

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to dismantling drug trafficking operations to keep USPS customers and employees safe from drug traffickers who favor profit over human lives,” stated Inspector in Charge Ruth M. Mendonça of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Chicago Division. “This case is an example of the dedication of the Inspection Service and its law enforcement partners to prevent the shipping of illegal narcotics through the U.S. Mail, which not only endangers the public but also places USPS employees at risk. I appreciate the efforts by all of our law enforcement partners in this case.”

The Illinois State Police West Central Illinois Task Force, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Quincy Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Field Office, investigated the case with assistance from the Santa Ana Police Department. Assistance also was provided by the Adams County State’s Attorney’s Office. Seberger represented the government in the prosecution.

The cases against Lopez Reyes and Tovar are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence and to make neighborhoods safer for everyone.

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