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New Jersey Truck Driver Sentenced for Drug Trafficking

AUG 30 (LAREDO, Texas) – Rigoberto Torres, 39, a legal permanent resident from New Jersey, has been ordered to federal prison as a result of his conviction of possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Javier Peña and  United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Torres pleaded guilty May 13, 2013.

Today, Senior U.S. Senior District Judge George P. Kazen handed Torres a term of 46 months. He is expected to face deportation proceedings following completion of his federal prison sentence.

On Aug. 28, 2012, Torres was arrested at the U.S. Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint on Interstate 35, approximately 29 miles north of Laredo, after he was discovered carrying numerous bundles of marijuana.

Torres was driving a tractor trailer and BP drug dogs alerted to the presence of narcotics during primary inspection. Agents searched the trailer and discovered 171 kilograms of marijuana hidden behind an after-market wall, inside the trailer. Agents learned that Torres had purchased the drug-laden trailer in Edinburg and intended to deliver the marijuana to Atlanta, Ga., in return for $20,000.

Torres, who initiated his trip in New Jersey, gave multiple inconsistent statements regarding his trip and trailer load. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that four days prior to this arrest, Torres had been previously detained by Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers for traffic violations. Torres gave a false story to officers regarding his reasons for business in the State of Texas.

Torres was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to the United States Marshals Service in the near future.

Drug Enforcement Administration investigated along with BP and DPS. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sanjeev Bhasker and Elizabeth Rabe prosecuted the case.


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