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Federal Jury in Del Rio Convicts Los Zetas Cartel Drug Dealer

OCT 16 (DEL RIO, Texas) - A member of a drug trafficking organization with ties to the Los Zetas Cartel operating in Piedras Negras, Mexico, faces up to life in federal prison after a jury convicted him of smuggling thousands of kilograms of marijuana into the United States from Mexico announced Joseph M. Arabit, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge, Houston Division, United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Christopher Combs, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge of the San Antonio Division, Janice Ayala, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge, San Antonio.

On October 16, 2014, jurors convicted 20–year-old Servando Benitez-Reynoso of one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana and one count of possession with the intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana. The jurors found him not guilty of conspiracy to commit bulk cash smuggling and one count of bulk cash smuggling.

According to courtroom testimony, Benitez-Reynoso was the organizer for the drug trafficking organization in the United States who was responsible for coordinating the movement of marijuana loads from the Quemado, TX, and Normandy, TX, areas to San Antonio and Austin between September 27, 2012, and July 31, 2013. Benitez-Reynoso scouted for the load vehicles and coordinated the route of travel to avoid detection. Bundles of marijuana, smuggled across the river into Quemado were transported to stash houses in Eagle Pass, TX.

From there, the marijuana was transported to stash houses in San Antonio and Austin where it would be further broken down and distributed to other locations. Evidence presented during the trial also showed that Benitez- Reynoso attempted to influence the testimony of witnesses.

On July 31, 2013, Benitez-Reynoso was arrested in Eagle Pass while scouting for a load of marijuana. He will remain in federal custody pending sentencing. Sentencing is scheduled for February, 2014, in Del Rio.

This case was investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and Drug Enforcement Administration together with the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Marshals Service, Austin Police Department, Houston Police Department, and Brookshire Police Department.

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