A Vallejo, California man, Henry Benson, has been found guilty of possessing and distributing methamphetamine and a weapons charge, according to U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert. After a six-day trial, Benson, 42, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine-laced pills, as well as four counts of distributing or possessing pills with intent to sell. He was also found guilty of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Prosecutors stated that from January 2015 until his arrest in February 2019, Benson operated a methamphetamine trafficking business, producing and selling thousands of meth-laced pills. He used a pill press to create pills that resembled traditional Ecstasy pills, featuring colorful, candy-like tablets in the shape of cartoon characters, well-known company logos, and other designs.
Benson’s co-conspirator, Rafael Ruiz, sold thousands of these pills to an undercover agent. During a search of Benson’s residence, located in the backrooms of an elder care facility in Vallejo that he ran with his wife, Roselle Cipriano, authorities discovered the pill press, pills, bags of powders, and other items used for pressing pills. They also found a 12-gauge shotgun. Additional pill presses were found in Benson’s storage unit.
Rafael 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. Roselle Cipriano, 39, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and manufacture methamphetamine-laced pills.
Both Benson and Cipriano are scheduled to be sentenced on January 9, 2024. They each face a potential sentence of 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 of up to $250,000 for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.