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Oct. 21, 2009


(McALLEN, Texas) – A jury has found Antonio Vega, 48, of McAllen, guilty of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute 413 kilograms of marijuana, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. The jury returned a guilty verdict as to both counts on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009, after one and a half days of trial testimony and three hours of deliberation. United States District Judge Randy Crane presided over the trial.

Testimony and other evidence including audio recordings presented during the trial proved that on April 30, 2009, Vega arranged to transport approximately 413 kilograms of marijuana from the Rio Grande Valley to Atlanta, Ga. On May 5, 2008, Vega provided money to an individual working under the direction of agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to hire a driver for the tractor trailer. On May 7, 2008, Vega drove the tractor trailer with the marijuana to a local truck stop where it was to be picked up by the driver. Unknown to Vega, the driver was actually an undercover officer. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, who had been investigating Vega and monitoring his activity, took possession of the tractor trailer and upon further inspection found the marijuana underneath the floor board of the trailer. Vega was subsequently charged and arrested on Aug. 5, 2008, and released on bond on Aug. 15, 2008.

Vega now faces no less than five years up to a maximum of 40 years imprisonment for each of the two counts of conviction as well as a fine not to exceed $2 million. Judge Crane has set sentencing for Jan. 13, 2010. Following the return of the guilty verdicts, Judge Crane revoked Vega’s bond and remanded him to custody pending sentencing.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Juan Villescas.



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