Drug dealer that led police on a chase in 2015, sentenced to 20 years in prison

Video of chase on July 2, 2015 – ©Bob Fitch/Grand Prairie Reporter

The drug dealer that led Grand Prairie police on a wild chase in 2015 that ended when the suspect crashed his pickup into Mountain Creek Lake, striking a sailboat, was sentenced last week to nearly 20 years in prison.

U. S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas announced Thursday that Iran Zavala, 28, of Dallas was sentenced by U. S. District Judge Jane J. Boys to 235 months in federal prison after a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Zavala’s co-conspirator in the case, Santiago Veliz, 29, also pleaded guilty to the same offense and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Boyle on October 6. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine.

According to court documents filed in the case, beginning in approximately June 2015, Zavala, Veliz and others agreed to distribute methamphetamine. On approximately June 29, 2015, Zavala negotiated the sale of two kilograms of methamphetamine for $32,000 to a person he later learned was an undercover law enforcement officer.

A few days later, on July 2, 2015, Zavala and Veliz traveled to a gas station on North Beltline Road in Grand Prairie to distribute one kilogram of methamphetamine to a person Zavala believed to be customer. They had both the methamphetamine and a firearm in their pickup truck. However, prior to the drug transaction being completed, law enforcement in marked patrol cars attempted to pull over Zavala’s vehicle. Rather than stop, Zavala fled in the truck at a high rate of speed, and during the chase, Zavala threw the methamphetamine out of the driver’s side window. The firearm was thrown out of the passenger side window.

At the sentencing hearing, testimony was presented that Zavala intentionally drove his pickup truck at a high rate of speed toward a Grand Prairie police officer who was attempting to lay a spike strip in the road to deflate the tires on Zavala’s fleeing vehicle. Zavala is charged in a pending Dallas County case with Aggravated Assault of a Public Servant.

The pursuit ended when Zavala drove his vehicle into Mountain Creek Lake where it collided with a sailboat near the boat ramp. Both Zavala and Veliz were arrested. The firearm, a 9-milimeter semi-automatic pistol, was recovered and ordered forfeited to the government.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Grand Prairie Police Department investigated the case. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Calvert was in charge of the prosecution.