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Leader of Cocaine Distribution Ring Ordered to Prison - $3 Million Forfeited

NOV 24 (MCALLEN, Texas) - Mexican National Francisco Gonzalez-Contreras, 37, has been ordered to federal prison for his leadership role in a cocaine distribution ring, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. He pleaded guilty May 3, 2013. 

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Gonzalez-Contreras to a total term of 112 months in prison.  At the hearing, the court took into consideration that Gonzalez-Contreras played a significant role by renting stash locations for the narcotics and related drug proceeds as well as hiring two of the co-defendants to assist in the crime. Three others - Arturo Gonzalez-Contreras, 26, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, 51, and Jose Hernandez-Sanchez, 47, also pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute approximately 82 pounds of cocaine. Hernandez-Sanchez and Rodriguez  both received a sentence of 42 months in prison, while Arturo Gonzalez-Contreras will serve a 57-month-term of federal imprisonment. All four have also agreed to the forfeiture of more than $3 million seized alongside the narcotics. Not U.S. citizens, all are also expected to face deportation proceedings following release from prison.

The investigation began when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in conjunction with the McAllen Police Department discovered a large stash of narcotics and money after conducting surveillance upon alleged stash houses and several vehicles. Authorities initially conducted a traffic stop of Hernandez-Sanchez and discovered $897,910 in drug proceeds. Agents then recovered 37 kilograms of cocaine and eight kilograms of heroin at a residence in McAllen and more than $2 million from an apartment in Mission. The defendants were members of a drug smuggling organization and were attempting to smuggle the narcotics to other U.S. cities. 
    
All have been in custody where they will remain pending transfer to U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by the DEA and prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Grady J. Leupold. AUSA Juan Alanis handled the sentencing today.

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