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August 17, 2017
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Two illegal aliens head to prison for trafficking meth

AUG 17 (McALLEN, Texas) - Two illegal aliens who resided in Texas have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, announced DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Houston Division, Steven Whipple and Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.  Mexican national Johnathan Ricardo Alvarez, 24, and El Salvadorian national Melvin Noel Vasquez, 33, who resided in Mission and Houston, respectively, pleaded guilty May 31, 2017.

Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Alvarez to serve a 200-month sentence, while Vasquez received a 147-month term of imprisonment.  At the hearing, additional testimony was presented establishing that the methamphetamine was imported from Mexico in a liquid form and converted into crystalized methamphetamine at an apartment in Harris County for further distribution.  In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted the defendants had a choice not to involve themselves in drug trafficking but chose to anyway without consideration of the harm to the community.  Not U.S. citizens, both are expected to face deportation proceedings following release from prison.  

Co-defendant Oscar Diaz-Pineda, 27, a Mexican national who resided in Houston, also pleaded guilty May 31, 2017, and is set for sentencing Sept. 28, 2017.  

At the time of his plea, Alvarez admitted to brokering a drug transaction with an undercover agent via telephone on Dec. 7, 2016.  Two days later, Vasquez and Diaz-Pineda met with the undercover agent in Houston to deliver five kilograms of methamphetamine on behalf of Alvarez. Agents arrested Vasquez and Diaz-Pineda that same day and seized the narcotics.  Alvarez was subsequently arrested on April 16, 2017, in South Texas. 

All three have been and will remain in custody.  

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation along with task force officers from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, police departments in Humble and Missouri City and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan F. Alanis is prosecuting the case.

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