Eastern WA man sentenced for drug deal that used 4-year-old to hand-off 10 lbs. of meth

A second Tri-Cities man has been sentenced in a drug deal that used a 4-year-old to deliver 10 pounds of meth in a Spider-Man backpack.

Earlier this year Rafael Muniz De la Mora was sentenced to 12 years in prison for delivering the methamphetamine to Amado De La Mora Cardenas at a Pasco car wash.

Now Cardenas has been sentenced by a federal judge to more than 11 years in federal prison for his role in the drug ring, He previously pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of pure meth.

Cardenas, who is from Colima, Mexico, will also serve 5 years of federal probation after he is released from custody, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal prosecutors say Cardenas and an accomplice, Carlos Madrigal-Deniz, set up a meth deliver from Muniz-De La Mora in Sept. 2020. Madrigal-Deniz was also sentenced to 12 years in prison.

When they met at the Pasco car wash, the preschooler got out of Muniz-De La Mora’s Mercedes SUV wearing a Spider-Man backpack that prosecutors say was stuffed with 10 pounds of meth.

Muniz-De La Mora then escorted the child over to Cardenas’ Chevy Cruz and got in. The two men and the child then left the car wash and were stopped by the Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force. The backpack with the meth was found in the car next to the preschooler.

The investigation began when the Metro Drug Task Force began looking into an organization suspected to be involved in trafficking meth in the Tri-Cities and Connell.

“This impactful sentence is yet another great example of the public safety partnerships that are in operation every single day to keep the Tri-Cities area safe,” Kennewick Police Chief Chris Guerrero said. “We appreciate the commitment from our Tri-Cities Metro Drug Task Force, the DEA, US Border Patrol, and the US Attorney’s Office in holding those who are providing illegal narcotics to our communities accountable.”

The Metro Drug Task Force is headed by Kennewick police and includes investigators from agencies all over the region. This case saw cooperation from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Tri-Cities office, Border Patrol, Richland Police, Kennewick Police, West Richland Police and Pasco Police.

U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref said it was particularly troubling that they used a child in their drug deal, and praised the agencies working together to put a stop to it.

“I commend the collaborative efforts of state, local, and federal law enforcement to identify Mr. De La Mora Cardenas’s drug trafficking activities and to prevent him from further distributing this poison in our community,” Waldref said in the news release.

David F. Reames, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Seattle Field Division, said this case is a sad example of how far drug traffickers are willing to go.