Eight sentenced on drug trafficking charges

Conspiracy involved 339 pounds of ice methamphetamine

Eight area residents have been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges.

At recent sentencing hearings, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand sentenced the following persons to prison:

• Edgar Hernandez, 31, Toledo, 21 years;

• Kyle Chyma, 29, Toledo, 15 years;

• Scott Steuhm, 26, Tama, 13 years, 4 months;

• Kelbie Struve, 25, Toledo, 7 years, 10 months;

• Alejandra Castillo-Hernandez, 46, Marshalltown, 5 years;

• Kailyn Struve, 26, Toledo, 4 years;

• Marlene Hernandez, 25, Toledo, 1 year, 3 months; and

• Tyler Walz, 23, Tama, 1 year, 3 months.

Each defendant must also serve a term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Back in September of 2016, a federal grand jury charged all eight defendants with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. At plea hearings in February and March of 2017, Chyma, Edgar Hernandez, Steuhm, Kelbie Struve, Kailyn Struve, Marlene Hernandez, and Castillo-Hernandez admitted to trafficking in methamphetamine. Chyma, Kailyn Struve and Walz admitted to trafficking in cocaine. Chyma also admitted to money laundering. The indictment contained a forfeiture allegation, and as part of their guilty pleas, the eight defendants agreed to forfeit mor ethan $360,000 in drug proceeds.

At the sentencing hearings, Judge Strand found that Edgar Hernandez and Steuhm were responsible for distributing approximately 339 pounds of ice methamphetamine during the conspiracy. Edgar Hernandez and Chyma received sentencing enhancements for serving as leaders of the drug trafficking organization. Edgar Hernandez, Chyma and Steuhm received sentencing enhancements for importing methamphetamine from Mexico.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration with support from multiple law enforcement agencies including the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, the Marshalltown Police Department and the Tama County Sheriff’s Office.