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July 10, 2009


(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) – Julian Rodriguez, 35, a U.S. citizen residing in Houston, has been convicted following a federal jury trial of conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute 82.32 kilograms of marijuana, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

On April 29, 2009, Rodriguez attempted to smuggle 82.32 kilograms of marijuana through the Gateway International Port of Entry in Brownsville, Texas. After being questioned at primary inspection, Rodriguez was referred to secondary inspection where officers tapped on the gas tank which produced a dull sound. Subsequently, the K-9 alerted to the presence of a controlled substance near the gas tank of the 2002 Ford F-150 pickup truck.  With the use of a density meter, agents confirmed an anomaly within the spare tire located under the bed of the truck, where agents discovered a total of 79 bundles of marijuana located throughout the spare tire, gas tank, seat belt housing, back wall of truck, rear floor board, both rear passenger doors and front passenger door.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty on both counts with which he was charged. Rodriguez’s bond was revoked and he was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending sentencing on Oct. 13, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $1 million.

This case was investigated by Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joe Esquivel and Ana Cano.



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