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Former Fugitive Narcotics Trafficker Handed Hefty Sentence

MAR 17 (McALLEN, Texas) - Jose Urbano Cortinas, 29, has been ordered to prison for nearly 23 years following his conviction of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Cortinas, of Memphis, Tenn., entered a guilty plea to the charge Oct. 29, 2014.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered Cortinas to serve a total of 262 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by a five-year-term of supervised release.

The investigation revealed that from 2008 through 2011, Cortinas and others conspired to transport large amounts of cocaine from the Rio Grande Valley to Georgia via tractor-trailers. During the investigation, law enforcement was able to seize several loads of cocaine, including 267 kilograms on May 15, 2009, and 330 kilograms on Jan. 29, 2010.

Cortinas was indicted in 2011, but fled to Arkansas. He was subsequently apprehended in July 2014.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Sturgis prosecuted the case.
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