Arizona Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Marijuana Trafficking Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jesse Bruner, 46, of Douglas, Ariz., was sentenced this afternoon to 120 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for his marijuana trafficking conviction. Bruner’s sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, Dennis A. Ulrich, II, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Chief Patrol Agent Scott A. Luck, El Paso Sector, U.S. Border Patrol.
Bruner and a co-defendant, a 72-year-old woman from Kentucky, were arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents on April 7, 2011, in Hidalgo County, N.M., after finding approximately 239 pounds of marijuana in a vehicle driven by the woman and in which Bruner was a passenger. Bruner alone was indicted on July 20, 2011, and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Bruner entered a guilty plea to the indictment on Oct. 6, 2011. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.
Court records reflect that on April 7, 2011, U.S. Border Patrol agents followed the vehicle driven by the woman as it traveled north on Hidalgo County Road 1 toward Animas, N.M., and then abruptly turned onto a local ranch road and stopped at the only house on the road. They observed Bruner get out of the vehicle and knock on the door to the house. The woman then drove the vehicle around the back of the house and back to Hidalgo County Road 1 where she slowed down and stopped when she saw the agents. When the agents approached the vehicle to speak with the woman, they observed large bundles on the back seat that were packaged in a manner consistent with packaging for marijuana. After arresting the woman, the agents arrested Bruner who had remained in the vicinity of the house. A search of the vehicle revealed that it contained ten bundles containing an aggregate of 238.95 pounds of marijuana.
The charges against the woman were dismissed before Bruner was indicted after law enforcement authorities determined that Bruner deceived her into participating in his drug trafficking activities. Bruner also threatened her life when she objected to participating in the crime.
The case was investigated by HSI in Deming, N.M., and the U.S. Border Patrol in Lordsburg, N.M., and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacob A. Wishard and Luis A. Martinez.