10 Years in Federal Prison for Methamphetamine Importer

10 Years in Federal Prison for Methamphetamine Importer

Received Up to 40 Pounds/Week into Delaware

WILMINGTON, DE (STL.News) A New Castle County man was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

According to court documents and evidence presented at the December 21, 2021 sentencing hearing, Imanuel Villalba, 23, received shipments of up to forty pounds per week of methamphetamine from California until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down his supply chain in March 2020.  Together with his girlfriend Hayley Carello, Villalba travelled to California in June 2020 to pay his supplier cash to re-start his methamphetamine trafficking business.  When a four-pound methamphetamine shipment arrived in Delaware on June 29, 2020, the DEA intercepted that package and Villalba and Carello were arrested.  Carello was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on November 17, 2021.

The conspiracy in which Villalba participated was the subject of a months-long DEA investigation, which included the use of federal wiretaps on Villalba’s and Carello’s phones.  On the day the couple was arrested, law enforcement officers seized four pounds of methamphetamine, a handgun from Villalba’s motel room and an AR-15 rifle from Carello’s residence.

Two other defendants were separately charged, and their cases remain pending.  David Zarco pled guilty to distributing methamphetamine on Villalba’s behalf.  He is scheduled to be sentenced January 4, 2022.  Hanna Carello, Hayley Carello’s twin sister, was indicted February 23, 2021 for participating in the conspiracy with Villalba and Carello.  An indictment merely contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  Hanna Carello, like all defendants, is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

David C. Weiss, U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, commented on the sentence, “Methamphetamine is a highly dangerous and addictive drug.  Its increased presence in our communities is concerning.  Imanuel Villalba was responsible for bringing a large amount of methamphetamine into Delaware, and he will now serve a significant prison sentence for that crime.  Discovering and dismantling illegal drug supply chains like Villalba’s remains a priority for my office, DEA and our law enforcement partners.”

“Villalba was responsible for trafficking approximately 40 pounds of methamphetamine weekly into Delaware.  This is a substantial amount of a dangerous street drug that is often used by people struggling with illicit opioid use disorder to abate withdrawal symptoms,” said Thomas Hodnett, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division.  Villalba’s drug distribution activities destroyed the lives of countless people across Delaware; for that he is deserving of this federal prison sentence.”

U.S. Attorney Weiss made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonard P. Stark. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jennifer K. Welsh and Ruth Mandelbaum are prosecuting the case.  The case has been investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) Group 35, which is part of the Liberty Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (“HIDTA”).  The DEA received significant assistance from the Wilmington Police Department, Delaware State Police, and the Newport Police Department.