July 23, 2009
TRUCK DRIVER CONVICTED OF SMUGGLING 1,252 POUNDS OF MARIJUANA
(LAREDO) – A federal jury convicted a Dallas area truck driver of smuggling more than 1000 pounds of marijuana from Laredo to the Dallas area, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
On Wednesday, July 22, 2009, a federal jury convicted Brandon Dejuran Ivory, 33, of conspiracy to and possession with intent to distribute 1,252 pounds of marijuana which had been concealed inside a legitimate load of Peterbilt truck parts that Ivory was transporting to Dallas.
During the two-day trial before United States District Judge Micaela Alvarez, the jury heard testimony from Border Patrol agents about their discovery of the contraband on March 31, 2009, in the tractor-trailer being driven by Ivory during a routine immigration inspection at the Interstate Highway 35 checkpoint, north of Laredo. The marijuana was split into 26 bundles and concealed inside a legitimate load of Peterbilt truck parts. Ivory confessed to Drug Enforcement Administration special agents, who were called in to continue the investigation following the discovery of the marijuana. DEA agents testified Ivory told them he was approached in Dallas and offered $25 per pound to drive the marijuana from Laredo to the Dallas area. He explained to them that he manipulated the seals on the truck to avoid detection by the legitimate shipper and provided directions to the Laredo warehouse where he picked up the marijuana.
Ivory testified on his own behalf at trial and claimed he made a false confession. Nevertheless, on cross-examination, Ivory admitted he had confessed, but still denied the truth of the entire statement. However, agents confirmed his directions to, and description of, the warehouse where he said he picked up the load as well as verified the seals on the trailer containing the contraband were, in fact, manipulated - just as he had confessed.
Ivory faces no less than five and up to a maximum of 40 years as well as a $2 million fine or both at his sentencing which has been set for Oct. 1, 2009. Although he had been on bond pending trial, immediately after the verdict was announced, Judge Alvarez granted the government’s motion to revoke the bond and ordered Ivory taken into federal custody without bond pending sentencing.
Assistant United States Attorney Josh Ackerman prosecuted the case.
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