Pasadena Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Transporting Load of Marijuana
FEB 26 -- (LAREDO, Texas) – A Pasadena, Texas, man, convicted of possessing with intent to distribute 2,220 kilograms of marijuana, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
United States District Judge George P. Kazen sentenced John Humberto Garza, 41, to 120 months in federal prison to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release at a hearing held yesterday in federal court. Garza pleaded guilty to the federal drug trafficking felony offense in May 2009. He has been in federal custody since his March 2009 arrest and will remain in custody to serve his sentence.
In March 2009, Garza arrived at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway 16 about two miles south of Hebbronville, Texas, driving a tractor towing a flatbed trailer loaded with a large metal storage tank. Border Patrol (BP) agents became suspicious of the tank after Garza was unable to provide information about where he picked up the tank and where he was to drop it off. Those suspicions prompted agents to refer the truck to the Falfurrias Border Patrol Station for a Cargo Inspection System (VACIS) machine scan. The VACIS scan revealed an anomaly inside the storage tank and prompted a search by BP agents. The agents found the tank was hollow and discovered a total of 234 bundles of marijuana weighing a total of 2,220 kilograms.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) took custody of Garza and the contraband, continued the investigation and learned Garza had been hired by a man named “John” to transport the tank to Houston for $1,500. Once in Houston, Garza was to meet with an unknown man at a specified truck stop and follow that man to an industrial yard where the load was to be delivered. At his re-arraignment hearing, Garza admitted he knew the tank contained marijuana.
The case was investigated by DEA special agents and BP and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roberto F. Ramirez.
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