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Nov. 23, 2009


(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Oscar Suarez-Velez, 28, has pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 160 pounds of cocaine, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

On Sept. 29, 2009, Suarez-Velez, of Edinburg, was stopped at the United States Border Patrol Checkpoint near Falfurrias, Texas, driving a tractor-trailer. Border Patrol agents at the checkpoint conducted a thorough search of the tractor-trailer after a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the vehicle. Agents discovered a secret compartment containing a total of 66 bundles of cocaine weighing more than 160 pounds. According to the Border Patrol, the cocaine has a value in excess of five million dollars. 

At a hearing today before United States District Judge John D. Rainey, Suarez-Velez admitted to knowingly possessing the cocaine and that he was being paid to transport the drugs for the purpose of distribution.

Suarez-Velez faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Suarez-Velez can also be fined up to four million dollars. A sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 17, 2010, at 2:15 p.m. Suarez has been and will remain in federal custody without bond pending his sentencing.

The case was investigated by agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Border Patrol. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr.



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