Oct. 27, 2009
GUILTY PLEA IN 12,000 POUND MARIJUANA CASE
(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) – Arturo Alvarado, 50, has pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
On Sept. 12, 2009, Alverado was stopped at the United States Border Patrol Checkpoint near Falfurrias, Texas, driving a Federal Express delivery truck. Border Patrol agents noticed that Alvarado seemed nervous and a canine alerted to the vehicle. Agents opened the back of the truck and discovered the truck was completely full of large boxes containing marijuana. A total of 120 boxes were removed from the vehicle weighing approximately 12,000 pounds with an estimated value in excess of seven million dollars. Officials with Federal Express verified that Alvarado was not driving an authorized Federal Express load.
At a hearing before Chief United States District Judge Hayden Head, Alvarado admitted he knew he was transporting marijuana for the purpose of distribution.
Alvarado faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Alvarado can also be fined up to four million dollars and may be ordered by the court to pay restitution up to the amount of any fine. A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 14, 2010, at 9:30 a.m.
The case was investigated by agents from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr.
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