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Cuban National Convicted in Conspiracy to Transport Cocaine

JAN 08 (LAREDO, Texas) - Rene Cardenas, 36, of Miami, Fla. pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to transport five kilograms or more of cocaine, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier F. Peña and United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

Cardenas was named in a sealed indictment returned by a grand jury on Aug. 28, 2012, which alleged the drug trafficking organization transported five kilograms or more of cocaine since 2008. The organization transported cocaine from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to Houston and Miami on a regular basis. Six others also charged are currently awaiting trial.

In the guilty plea, Cardenas admitted he was one of the individuals who further distributed the cocaine once it reached Miami and was also responsible for sending payment for the cocaine back to Laredo. One such shipment was recovered on May 25, 2010, when a truck driver was stopped with $422,001 and a drug ledger concealed in a compartment in the trailer’s rear axle.

Cardenas faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison and a $10 million fine. The United States is also seeking a money judgment in the amount of $2,408,204. U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker accepted the plea; sentencing will occur on a date yet to be determined.

The case is the result of a two-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Investigation dubbed Silver Fox Hunt led by the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant United States Attorneys James Hepburn and Elizabeth Rabe are handling the case.

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