Colorado man convicted of conspiracy to distribute meth
OMAHA, Neb. -- A Colorado man was convicted on Wednesday for meth related charges and faces a potential sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Acting United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that on Wednesday that a federal jury in Lincoln, convicted 38-year-old Jose O. Maes of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine mixture after a three-day trial presided over by United States District Judge John M. Gerrard.
Before the start of the trial, Maes agreed that he had a prior conviction for a first-degree murder from the state of Colorado. As a result, he faces a potential sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
Maes' sentencing is scheduled for March 22, 2023.
Court documents said a testimony and evidence presented during the trial showed that between June of 2020 and February 12, 2021, Maes became involved in a meth distribution organization which transported meth from the Colorado Springs area to the Lincoln and Omaha/Council Bluffs, Iowa areas.
Maes supplied meth to Jeffry Hogan who drove it to Lincoln and sold it to Kelly Jablonski.
Jablonski then sold the meth to people in Lincoln, Omaha, and Council Bluffs. She gave Hogan with cash from those sales and Hogan would then give cash to Maes.
Multiple pounds of meth were distributed in this manner between the late 2020 or early 2021 and Feb. 12, 2022.
On Feb. 11, 2022, investigators with the Lincoln/Lancaster County Narcotics Task Force followed Jablonski to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where she was seen on Horseshoe Casino video meeting and gambling with Hogan.
Jablonski and Hogan later met Maes at the casino and all three went into the casino parking garage.
From there it was reported that Hogan took a backpack containing meth out of Maes’s car, got into Jablonski’s Jeep, and both vehicles left the parking garage.
Investigators conducting surveillance saw the two vehicles meet again at a gas station a short distance away where witnesses testified Hogan gave cash to Maes.
Later that night, investigators saw Jablonski and Hogan leave an Omaha residence in separate vehicles.
Hogan followed Jablonski onto westbound Interstate 80 and both vehicles headed toward Lincoln.
Both vehicles were stopped by the Nebraska State Patrol for traffic violations and both vehicles were searched. About 3.5 lbs. of meth were found in Jablonski’s Jeep. Hogan’s van had approximately .5 lbs of meth, a number of fentanyl pills, two handguns and $5,000 in cash.
Both Jablonski and Hogan have since pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to this matter. Jablonski was sentenced on Nov. 3, 2022, to 97 months in prison.
Hogan is waiting for his sentencing.
As a result of these stops and searches, information was relayed to Iowa investigators indicating Maes was likely in possession of meth, cash and a firearm and was believed to have returned to the casinos in Council Bluffs.
Around 2:30 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2022, an investigator from the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement and a Council Bluffs Police Officer located Maes’s car in the Harrah’s Casino parking garage in Council Bluffs.
The investigator tried to speaking with Maes while the Council Bluffs officer tried to block Maes from leaving the garage; but Maes drove around the Council Bluffs officer’s cruiser and out of the parking garage.
This started a pursuit which ended about 30 miles away, on Iowa Highway 59 in Pottawattamie County, Iowa.
That pursuit involved the Council Bluffs Police, Iowa Highway Patrol and Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Department.
Pottawattamie County deputies used “stop sticks” which punctured the tires of Maes’s car and eventually resulted in the car stopping because it was no longer drivable.
Maes was arrested for fleeing from officers and an outstanding Colorado warrant for a parole violation related to his prior Colorado murder conviction.
Maes’s car was searched.
Investigators found about .25 oz. of meth, a few fentanyl pills, a loaded handgun with an extended magazine and over $34,153 in cash. That cash has since been forfeited to the United States of America by the FBI.