Undocumented Individual Indicted on Illegal Firearm Possession, Methamphetamine Trafficking and Illegal Re-Entry Charges

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala – A federal grand jury this week charged an undocumented individual with drug and gun crimes and illegal re-entry into the United States after deportation announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Katrina Berger.

A 17-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Juan Jose Maldonado-Arce, 36, with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams  or more of methamphetamine and a substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine hydrochloride, three counts of possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, two counts of distribution of methamphetamine, two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride, one count of distribution cocaine hydrochloride, two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of being an undocumented individual in possession of a firearm, two counts of carrying or possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime and one count of illegal re-entry after deportation.

According to the indictment, between May 2021 and February 2022, in Madison and Limestone Counties, Maldonado-Arce possessed and sold methamphetamine and cocaine hydrochloride, and he possessed a Taurus 9mm pistol, a Smith & Wesson .32 caliber revolver, and a Hi-Point 9mm pistol. 

Maldonado-Arce re-entered the United States in July 2012, July 2016, and June 2020 after he was previously deported to Mexico on March 24, 2011.  


The penalty for conspiracy  to  possess  with  intent  to  distribute  and  distribution of methamphetamine and cocaine hydrochloride and possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams of methamphetamine is 10 years to life in prison. The maximum penalty for distribution of five or more grams of methamphetamine is 40 years in prison. The maximum penalty for distribution of a substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine hydrochloride is 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for illegal re-entry after deportation and being a felon and/or undocumented individual in possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison.  The minimum penalty for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime is five years in prison, which must run consecutive to any other sentence.

DEA and HSI investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Stuart Burrell is prosecuting the case. 

An indictment contains only charges.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.