News and Press Releases

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July 27, 2009


(LAREDO, Texas) – Lino Zamora-Cantu, 30, of Rio Bravo, Texas, was sentenced to a total of more than 24 years in federal prison today for drug trafficking, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced.

At a hearing this afternoon, United States District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Zamora-Cantu to 21 years and 10 months imprisonment for a possession with intent to distribute almost 900 pounds of marijuana. That sentence is to be followed by an additional 30 months imprisonment imposed by the court for Zamora-Cantu’s violation of a five-year-term of supervised release imposed as part of his sentence for a 2000 federal drug trafficking conviction involving cocaine. Indicted on the present offense in March 2009, Zamora-Cantu pleaded guilty in April 2009.

On the morning of Feb. 6, 2009,  a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper attempted to conduct a traffic stop of a 2006 Ford F-250 pick-up truck being driven by Zamora-Cantu along IH-35 near Laredo. Zamora-Cantu initially stopped, but as the Trooper exited his patrol car, Zamora-Cantu shifted the pick-up into reverse and hit the accelerator smashing into the trooper’s car narrowly missing the Trooper. Zamora-Cantu fled the scene in the truck and led law enforcement on an 18-minute high speed chase exceeding 100 miles per hour throughout the North and Northwest portions of Laredo, before driving down a dirt road leading to the Rio Grande River, near the World Trade Bridge, where he drove into the river bank, fled the vehicle and swam across the river.

American law enforcement, meanwhile, contacted their Mexican counterparts who were waiting for Zamora-Cantu, a U.S. citizen, on the other side. Mexican authorities took custody of Zamora-Cantu and escorted him to the Gateway to the Americas Bridge, where he was released to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agents and Texas Rangers.

The Trooper and his partner continued their duties and found 897 pounds (407 kilograms) of marijuana in the F-250's rear seat area and tool box.

At the time he committed the present offense, Zamora-Cantu was serving a five year term of supervised release after serving a 10-year prison sentence for a 2000 conviction for possession with intent to distribute 26 pounds of cocaine. Today, the court revoked that supervised release term and ordered Zamora-Cantu serve an additional 30 months imprisonment.

The DPS, Texas Rangers, Drug Enforcement Administration and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement jointly conducted the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Pimentel.




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