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Jury Convicts Houston Man of Smuggling Almost 9 Kilograms of Methamphetamine

FEB 10 (HOUSTON) - A federal jury in Houston has convicted Larry Maurice Favorite, 32, of Houston, of possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine and conspiracy to do the same, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The jury returned its verdict this afternoon following a two-day trial before U.S. District Judge Gray Miller.
  
The jury heard that on June 22, 2012, Favorite drove a Honda minivan from Laredo to the Border Patrol immigration checkpoint on Highway 59, approximately 16 miles west of Freer. His mother, Juanita Eva Velasquez, was riding as a front seat passenger.  A law enforcement canine alerted to the van in primary inspection, at which time agents sent the van and occupants to secondary inspection. A search was conducted which revealed three unmarked glass bottles in a bag located near the front passenger seat of the van. The bottles contained a brown liquid that appeared to be thicker than water.

Agents then found six more identical looking bottles behind the center console area. The nine bottles held a total of approximately nine liters of liquid, which agents field tested positive for methamphetamine. 

Velasquez and Favorite were immediately arrested and agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted further investigation. Favorite initially told agents he did not know there were any bottles in the van and that he and his mother had driven down from Houston.

However, when agents asked if the bottles belonged to his mother, Favorite then claimed they were only his. He stated he received them previously from a Hispanic male, but would not elaborate.

The bottles were sent to the DEA laboratory for more thorough testing. The laboratory confirmed the liquid contained methamphetamine having a net weight of 8.966 kilograms with a purity level of 48.4%. The total amount of actual methamphetamine in the bottles was 4.339 kilograms. 

As a result of the conviction today, Favorite faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million fine. He is set for sentencing May 22, 2015.

Velasquez was also charged and pleaded guilty last week to the methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy. She will also be sentenced May 22, 2015.

The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by DEA and Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Arthur R. Jones and Anibal Alaniz prosecuted the case.

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