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Three Brownsville Residents Sent to Prison in Five-Year Drug Conspiracy

DEC 15 (BROWNSVILLE, Texas) - A father and daughter and another defendant have all been ordered to federal prison following their convictions in a long-running effort to smuggle drugs via the United Parcel Service (UPS), announced Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, Houston Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

The three Brownsville residents - Mario Enrique Patlan, 46, Cristina Patlan, 24, and Reymundo Abel Brown Jr., 28 - entered guilty pleas Feb. 12, 2015. Mario Patlan and Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and 500 grams of cocaine, while Mario Patlan’s daughter - Cristina Patlan - entered her plea to possessing 37 kilograms of marijuana with intent to distribute in November 2011.

Today, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who accepted the guilty pleas, handed Mario Patlan a 48-month sentence, while Brown was ordered to serve 24 months. Both will also serve three years of supervised release following completion of their prison terms. Cristina Patlan will also serve a 48-month sentence to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing today, the court forfeited both of Mario Patlan’s houses to the United States. In handing down the sentences, Judge Hanen noted the defendants’ episode of illegal activity and the ruthless individuals associated with drug activity in the area.

Evidence presented in support of the pleas demonstrated that Mario Patlan and Brown used their positions at UPS to receive and forward drug-laden packages via UPS air and ground transportation. The packages were received in the area of Cameron County and were shipped throughout the U.S. During the time of the conspiracy – from 2007 to 2012 - more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana was shipped via UPS to states such as Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Michigan and New York.

As part of her plea, Cristina Patlan admitted she worked as a recruiter or go-between for her father and various drug trafficking organizations.

The trio will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation with assistance from the United States Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorneys (AUSA) David A. Lindenmuth, Carrie Wirsing and Lori Roth prosecuted the case along with former AUSA Charles Lewis.

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