Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2013, 7:21 pm

4 members of a drug-dealing conspiracy sentenced

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

A federal sentencing was held on Thursday for four members of a methamphetamine-dealing conspiracy, including a woman who officials said used her baby as a trafficking tool.

Neil Ron Bazan, 36, of Taylor Ridge, was sentenced by Judge Michael M. Mihm in the Rock Island branch of the U.S. District Court for Central Illinois, to six and a half years in prison, followed by five years of mandatory supervised release.

Fernando Avila, 19, of Moline, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, plus two years of supervised release.

Kristin Michelle Young, 35, of Moline, was sentenced to one year and eight months in prison, and three years of supervised release.

Lucero Mendez Gonzalez, 22, of Texas, was sentenced to one year and seven months of incarceration, along with two years of supervised release.

Tiffney Michael Hampton, 44, of Taylor Ridge, and Miguel Carreon, 30, of Texas -- who is believed to be the conspiracy's source -- will be sentenced on Feb. 21.

"This was a long-term ice methamphetamine conspiracy case in which Mr. Carreon, using Lucero Mendez Gonzalez and other individuals, would transport ice methamphetamine from the Mexican border to the Quad-City area," said Kevin Winslow, director of the Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group.

Police found Ms. Mendez-Gonzalez in a local hotel in July 2011, with about seven ounces of methamphetamine, a set of scales and about $400, according to records.

Mr. Winslow said the Texas woman traveled to the area by bus with her baby and the drugs.

He said the baby was used as a tool to conceal the illicit activity. People involved in drug dealing often "pick the most unassuming, unsuspecting people they can find (so as to) not draw attention from law enforcement," Mr. Winslow said.

The investigation later revealed Ms. Hampton, Mr. Bazan, Ms. Young and Mr. Avila to be co-conspirators, also transporting ice meth by bus or vehicle from Texas to the Quad-Cities area, according to records.

The case was investigated by QCMEG and Quad City Drug Enforcement Agency.