January 20, 2022

2 indicted on federal drugs, weapons charges

Two people arrested in February for having more than $158,000 in meth in Cortland County have been indicted on federal drugs and weapons charges.

They are also suspects in a California murder, said Christine Ferraro, a Cortland County assistant district attorney.

Kyle Leeper, 35, of Pennsylvania and Arlene N. Rodriquez, 35, of Almonte, California appeared Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Syracuse where they were both indicted on the federal felonies of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine in Cortland and elsewhere, using and carrying a firearm in connection with drug trafficking crimes. Leeper was also charged with the federal felony of being a prohibited person in possession of a rearm and ammunition.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Southwick said Thursday he would not provide details on the murder case.

Cortland County Sheriff’s officers pulled Leeper and Rodriquez over at 8:19 a.m. Feb. 19 in the Big Lots parking lot on Route 281 for having an unregistered vehicle. During the stop, officers said they found 4 pounds of meth, a handgun, about 15 grams of marijuana and an undisclosed amount of money.

The pair was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy, felonies; fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, and several violations. Leeper was also charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration, a misdemeanor.

The federal conspiracy and drug possession charges carry a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison, a fine of up to $10 million and supervised release of at least five years.
The use and carrying a firearm in connection with drug trafficking charge carry a mandatory consecutive sentence of five years in prison. Leeper could also face 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for the charge of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

The pair was ordered to be detained pending trial by U.S. District Court Judge David N. Hurd.

The case is being investigated by federal and Cortland County agencies.