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Jan. 26, 2009

OWNER OF VILLARREAL TRANSPORT SENTENCED FOR COCAINE TRAFFICKING

(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) - Miguel Fernando Villarreal-Ochoa, 36, owner of Villarreal Transport, has been sentenced to 151 months in federal prison for conspiring to possess and possessing with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, acting U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Villarreal-Ochoa was convicted by a jury’s verdict in October 2008 following a three-day trial.

During trial, the jury heard testimony proving that on March 28, 2008, Brownsville FBI agents received information that a large amount of narcotics was located at a certain address in Brownsville, where Brownsville Police Department (BPD) officers responded. Police simultaneously approached the residence and a vehicle they had observed arrive and park at the rear of the residence. Villarreal-Ochoa, the owner of the residence, was present and gave consent to search his residence. A narcotics dog alerted to a filing cabinet within the house in which officers found $3,200 in $100 bills. Gilberto Gutierrez-Gonzalez, an employee of Villarreal-Ochoa, was driving the vehicle which was registered to Villarreal-Ochoa. The vehicle contained  21 kilograms of cocaine within two boxes located in the back seat. Gutierrez-Gonzalez was also arrested at the scene and indicted as a co-conspirator in the case.

Villarreal-Ochoa told police he had sent his employee, Gutierrez-Gonzalez, to retrieve the cocaine from an unknown co-conspirator at a local restaurant parking lot. At trial, Villarreal-Ochoa claimed the confession was false and given under duress. Testimony from officers contradicted his claim.

The case was investigated by the Brownsville Police Department and the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Angel Castro.

 

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