California truck-Driver convicted of Federal Marijuana trafficking offense
ALBUQUERQUE – Earlier today, a federal jury found Sergio Javier Rodriguez, 41, of San Bernardino, California, guilty of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute after a four day trial before United States District Judge Judith C. Herrera. After the jury returned its guilty verdict, Judge Herrera remanded Rodriguez to the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Rodriguez faces a minimum five year and maximum forty year term of imprisonment, a maximum $2,000,000 fine, and at least four years supervised release.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Rodriguez was arrested on March 12, 2010 at the New Mexico Motor Transportation Police Division's (NMMTPD) Gallup Port of Entry on Interstate 40 after NMMTPD officers found more than 500 pounds of marijuana concealed in the tractor-trailer that Rodriguez was driving. According to the trial testimony, on March 12, 2010, NMMTPD officers decided to inspect Rodriguez's tractor-trailer after a review of Rodriguez’s log book revealed several discrepancies. The inspection revealed that Rodriguez was transporting rolls of fabric destined for North Carolina. After noting unusual scuff marks on the rear wall of the trailer, new rivets on the front wall, and observing that the outside of the trailer was 53 feet in length but the inside of the trailer only measured 51.5 feet, NMMTPD officers found that the trailer had a false compartment that contained U-Haul boxes that did not appear on the bill of lading. The boxes contained approximately 548.5 pounds of marijuana.
This case was investigated by the NMMTPD with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Samuel A. Hurtado and Damon P. Martinez.