(BCN) — A Vallejo man who ran a methamphetamine trafficking business out of the back of a care home he ran was found guilty of possessing and distributing meth and a weapons charge, U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert announced Friday.
After a six-day trial, Henry Benson, 42, was found guilty of conspiracty to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine-laced pillls, four counts of distributing or possessing with intent to sell the pills, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
From January 2015 to his arrest in February 2019, Benson produced and sold thousands of meth-laced pills, prosecutors said. He made the pills with a pill press, which compresses powders into tablets.
According to prosecutors, Benson created meth pills that looked like traditional Ecstasy pills that were colorful, candy-like tablets in the shape of cartoon characters, well-known company logos like Tesla, Donald Trump’s likeness, and other designs.
Benson’s co-conspirator, Rafael Ruiz, sold thousands of these pills to an undercover agent.
On Feb. 7, 2019, authorities searched Benson’s residence in the backrooms of an elder care facility in Vallejo that he ran with his wife, co-defendant Roselle Cipriano.
At the Genesis Care Home for the Elderly on Lewis Avenue, agents found the pill press, pills, bags of powders and other items for pressing pills, along with a 12-gauge shotgun. A search of Benson’s storage unit also yielded more pill presses.
Ruiz has already been sentenced to 13 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to assault on a federal officer, conspiracy to commit robbery and distribution of methamphetamine.
Cipriano, 39, of Vallejo, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine-laced pills.
Both Benson and Cipriano are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 9, 2024. Each face ten years to life in federal prison and a $10 million fine for trafficking methamphetamine.
Benson also faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, up to life in prison, and a fine up to $250,000 for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc.