A Bradenton man has been charged with distributing methamphetamine disguised as candy, according to federal prosecutors.
According to a complaint, Jesus Casteyano, 53, and others distributed more than 500 grams of a mixture containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine that was contained and packaged as retail candy.
Casteyano faces charges of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. If convicted he faces a mandatory sentence of 10 years to life in federal prison, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Tampa.
Casteyano made his first appearance in court Wednesday, and was ordered held without bond.
The complaint states that authorities began investigating Casteyano after Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Miami arrested a man with 5 kilograms of methamphetamine disguised as candy. The man told agents he had picked up the drugs from a residence in the 100 block of 59th Avenue Drive West in Bradenton.
Casteyano was among the people at the residence when authorities went to investigate on Tuesday. He and his wife were found in a bedroom with a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old. His wife confirmed that the four of them stayed in that bedroom of the home.
When law enforcement asked his wife if there were drugs in the home during a search, the woman said there were bags of candy in a storage tub in their closet. She said Casteyano had told her not to give the candy to her son because it was methamphetamine, according to the complaint.
Law enforcement found 19 pounds of a substance packaged as candy but tested positive for methamphetamine in the tub she indicated.
In interviews with officers, Casteyano confirmed that he was aware the candy was methamphetamine and that it belonged to him. He said there was one more processing step to complete for it to be usable meth.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI and the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.