Sept. 14, 2009
ANOTHER INDICTED IN THE MARIJUANA THROUGH THE US MAIL SCHEME
(MCALLEN, Texas) – Concepcion Gonzalez has been charged with drug offenses arising from a scheme to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana through the U. S. Mail and laundering the proceeds, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
Indicted by a McAllen grand jury on Aug. 25, 2009, Gonzalez, 38, of Mission, Texas made his initial appearance in federal court today before U. S. Magistrate Judge Peter E. Ormsby and been denied bond on the federal charges. Gonzalez is charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and one count of laundering the proceeds derived from the distribution of drugs.
Concepcion Gonzalez was one of several defendants charged by criminal complaint on May 5, 2009. That complaint alleged that Gonzalez and others charged in a separate but related indictment were allegedly involved in mailing parcels containing marijuana through the mail system. The parcels, themselves, were similarly packaged and contained raw beans, sealed in the cap of a can of spray foam to create a rattling sound. Additionally, the packages were found to contain expandable foam and marijuana wrapped in thick plastic. Later, the packaging changed to contain mustard, salt and pepper placed in the cellophane as masking agents around the marijuana.
During the course of a 10 month investigation, according to allegations in the complaint, USPIS inspectors identified a group of persons allegedly responsible for mailing more than 2000 parcels containing approximately 1657 kilograms of marijuana from various post offices throughout the Rio Grande Valley since May 2008. The packages were destined to various addresses throughout the United States with most of the packages being sent to Connecticut, Puerto Rico, New York and Florida. Of the parcels mailed by the group, at least 36 were intercepted and seized by USPIS inspectors.
As a result of the investigative effort, charges were brought against Gonzalez. Gonzalez, in state custody, was transferred into federal custody for today’s court proceeding. Trial is set for Nov. 2, 2009 before U. S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa.
If convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, Gonzalez faces a no less than 10 years up to a maximum of life imprisonment, and/or a $4 million fine. The conspiracy to launder the proceeds of drug trafficking charge carries a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, and the greater of a $500,000 fine or twice the amount of the transaction.
U.S. Postal Inspectors are increasing their efforts to protect the U.S. Mail from criminal misuse in South Texas. Specifically, USPIS is focusing on drug traffickers that attempt to use the mail to distribute illegal narcotics out of the Rio Grande Valley. Along with agents from the Hidalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force and the Department of Public Safety narcotics unit, USPIS inspectors are aggressively investigating to identify and arrest persons engaged in the mailing of narcotics.
Anyone having information about persons responsible for mailing narcotics is encouraged to contact the local USPIS office at 956/971-1721. The USPIS will pay up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals who use the U.S. Mail to distribute narcotics.
Assistant United States Attorneys Juan F. Alanis and Patricia Rigney are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law
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