News and Press Releases

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August 26, 2009


(LAREDO, Texas) – Martha Silvia Barba de Garza, 47, of Laredo, Texas, has been found guilty by a jury’s verdict of possession with intent to distribute and importation of methamphetamine, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Barba was driving a black Ford Freestyle with Texas registration when she was arrested on June 20, 2009, at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge International Port of Entry Bridge II in Laredo, Texas. During a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection, an officer discovered six bundles of methamphetamine weighing 5.3 kilograms hidden in the vehicle’s battery.

After her arrest, agents and officers discovered three tools inside the vehicle, one of which was a socket wrench with a 5/16" socket attached, that was an exact fit with the nuts used to tighten and loosen the battery cables. A vice grip, a Gerber all-purpose tool, battery grease and terminal protectors were also discovered. There was neither a tool kit nor a socket set present in the vehicle. In addition, at the X-Ray site, the battery of the vehicle went dead and the vehicle had to be pushed to the secondary inspection area to remove the narcotics.

At sentencing, which is set to be scheduled in the fall of 2009, Barba faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years to a maximum of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $4 million and a five-year-term of supervised release.

The case was investigated by CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Elliott.



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