FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2010
Contact: SA Wendell Campbell
Public Information Officer
Number: (713) 693-3000
Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 20-Year Prison Term After Second Felony Conviction
14 -- (CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Julio Garza, 36, of Edinburg, Texas, has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after his second federal felony drug conviction, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with Zoran Yankovich, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Houston Division. United States District Court Judge Hayden Head handed down the sentence today. A federal jury convicted Garza of possessing with intent to distribute 10 kilograms of cocaine following a trial in August 2009.
At trial, the defense presented the testimony of several witnesses in an attempt to convince the jury that Garza was not guilty by reason of voluntary intoxication. Defense witnesses claimed Garza had ingested a mix of prescription pills and alcohol for approximately two weeks prior to his February 2009 arrest at the Falfurrias, Texas, Border Patrol checkpoint where inspectors found 10 kilograms of cocaine in an Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV driven by Garza. However, the evidence presented by the United States showed that at the time of his arrest, Garza provided a detailed confession and exhibited no signs of intoxication or impairment. He was convicted on Aug. 10, 2009.
Garza’s prior federal conviction was a 2002 federal felony conviction for possession with intent to distribute marijuana in the Southern District of Texas. Under a provision of federal law, Garza’s prior conviction increased the mandatory minimum sentence to 20 years in prison without parole.
Investigators from Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation that led to the arrest and subsequent indictment of Garza. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rob MacDonald in Corpus Christi.