Drug crime lands two California men in prison for many years following sentencing


HANCOCK COUNTY — The two California brothers who were stopped with 55 pounds of methamphetamine worth $2 million in July 2021 will both spend multiple years in prison following the acceptance of a plea agreement last week in Hancock County Superior Court 1.

Luis Moreno-Gomez, 37 and Jose Moreno-Gomez, 36, both from Colton, Calif., were sentenced Wednesday, Jan. 18. Each was given a 17-and-a-half-year term with nine and a half years to be served in prison and the rest of the sentence suspended to probation. The most serious charge against the brothers carried a prison sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Both men admitted guilt to a Level 2 felony count of dealing methamphetamine while the lesser charges they were facing were dismissed, prosecutor Brent Eaton said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Indiana State Troopers stopped a vehicle following too closely and speeding in a construction zone on I-70 in late July 2021 and found 55 pounds of methamphetamine worth as much as $2 million.

The occupants of the vehicle, the two brothers from California, told Indiana State Police troopers they were heading to Ohio to visit their grandmother and didn’t know anything about the drugs.

According to a probable cause affidavit, while the men were retrieving paperwork after being pulled over, the trooper saw a binder with a U.S. driver’s license for Luis. When the trooper asked Luis why he had given him a different driver’s license, one from Mexico, the two became unusually nervous, the affidavit said.

A K9 officer was brought in, and the dog indicated drugs were in the pickup truck. Officials first found contraband concealed in the tailgate, the affidavit said. Officers located 10 packages wrapped in plastic and covered in what appeared to be axle grease, a common way to package and conceal bulk narcotics, officials noted in the report.

Officials then found another 12 packages under the truck bed. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine; in all, the packages weighed approximately 55 pounds.

The brothers told investigators they had no idea about where the drugs came from and stuck to a story about going to visit their grandmother in Ohio. However, they were unsure of their grandmother’s name or where she lived, the affidavit said. An officer offered to have another officer drive to the grandmother’s house in case she was going to be worried since they were not going to make it, but the brothers declined the offer.