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Marshall County jailer one of 14 sentenced in federal drug bust

Drug bust disrupted multi-state meth ring

October 21, 2011
By MIKE MALLOY - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

A former Marshall County jailer was sentenced Wednesday to 12.5 years in prison on federal drug charges.

Soraya Armas, 42, was arrested in September 2010 for participating in a methamphetamine distribution ring.

Armas, who was a sheriff's office employee from October 2000 until her arrest, served as a lookout for a multi-state organization and helped facilitate transportation of drugs and the proceeds from their sale, a Department of Justice release stated.

"This puts to end an investigation that brought sadness and disbelief to the staff of the Marshall County Sheriff's Office," Sheriff Ted Kamatchus said in a statement.

Thirteen others, including seven from Marshalltown, were also convicted and sentenced in the scheme.

In the Times-Republican's original report, Kamatchus said his own deputies discovered Armas' involvement. Kamatchus chose not to immediately arrest Armas, allowing her to continue working so he and other investigators could gather more evidence.

"Keeping things calm and without noticeable alterations would allow the criminal investigators to delve even deeper into the drug trafficking case without suspicion on the part of those involved," Kamatchus said last September. "At no time did this decision form a threat to the personnel or operation of the jail."

The Department of Justice report states that the organization trafficked up to 20 pounds of "exceptionally pure" meth monthly. Juan Armas Sanchez, the head of the organization, was sentenced in August to 30 years for conspiracy to distribute meth and five years for possession of a firearm after being convicted of a felony. Sanchez, 33, is from Marshalltown.

The report states that meth wound its way from Mexico through Arizona and Minnesota before arriving in Marshalltown.

Other Marshalltown residents convicted and sentenced in the case are:

Omar Calderon, 31, one year probation for false statement in acquiring a firearm

Juan Reyes, 19, three years for use of a communication facility to facilitate drug trafficking

Alfredo Flores Silva, 22, nine years for conspiracy to distribute meth

Seopoldo "Tony" Armas, 36, seven years and three months conspiracy to distribute meth

Jose Carbajal, 32, 13 years and nine months conspiracy to distribute meth

Gloria Sanchez, 63, two years for witness tampering

Other convicted members of the organization were Megan Woodard, 24, of Des Moines, Tad Walker, 45, of Johnston, Donald Boucher, 53, of Liscomb, Debra Armstrong, 51, of Steamboat Rock, Catalina Avila, 34, of Austin, Minn. and Javier Serrano Lopez, age not listed of Albert Lea, Minn.



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