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News Release
April 1, 2005

Mexican Woman Found Guilty of Transporting 49 Pounds of Cocaine

APR 1 --(LAREDO, TX) United States Attorney Michael Shelby announced today that a jury found Maria Verenice Marin Gutierrez, Mexico, guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute 49 pounds of cocaine yesterday, March 31, 2005.

Defendant Marin Gutierrez was arrested on November 22, 2004, at the IH-35 checkpoint, north of Laredo, Texas. Ms. Marin Gutierrez was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Vectra with Nuevo Leon plates. During primary inspection a law enforcement canine alerted to the presence of contraband in the area of the rear bumper. A further inspection of the vehicle revealed the presence of an after-market compartment built up around the spare tire wheel well. The compartment was inspected and found to contain 20 bundles of cocaine wrapped in brown cellophane weighing a total of 49 pounds.

After her arrest, Marin Gutierrez claimed she had no knowledge of the cocaine hidden in the after-market compartment in the trunk. Marin Gutierrez did say that she did not own the car and that it was loaned to her by a man she knew as a jeweler in Monterrey and who told her she may borrow the car to use it for a trip she needed to take to San Antonio. She stated that he also gave her a Motorola push to talk phone so that she may get into contact with him in case she got into any trouble along the way.

At trial, evidence was presented by U.S. Border Patrol agents, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force agents and an Immigration, Customs and Enforcement agent. Marin Gutierrez testified on her own behalf and stated that she must have been duped by her employer to drive the load. During her testimony, the defendant admitted that she made up the whole story she gave to Border Patrol and DEA agents about the person who gave her the car and that she did so because she did not want to have to admit that she was actually working in the United States without authorization.

The case was investigated by the DEA Task Force and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roberto F. Ramirez.


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