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Jan. 13, 2010

JURY CONVICTS AMERICAN LIVING IN NUEVO LAREDO OF TRANSPORTING METHAMPHETAMINE

(LAREDO, Texas) – After one day of trial and approximately three hours of deliberation, a federal jury has convicted Gerardo Garcia, 45, a United States citizen living in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, of importing, conspiring to possess and possessing with intent to distribute almost four kilograms of methamphetamine, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. 

The jury returned its verdicts convicting Garcia of all counts on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. United States District Judge George P. Kazen, who presided over the trial, has ordered Garcia to remain in custody without bond pending a sentencing hearing to be set following the completion of a presentence investigative report. 

During trial, the jury heard testimony from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who described the events of Oct. 11, 2009. On that date, at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge Number I in Laredo, Texas, Garcia was arrested as he attempted to enter the United States when methamphetamine was discovered in the battery of his pickup truck during an inspection by CBP officers. CBP and ICE agents found six tape-wrapped bundles of what was believed to be methamphetamine weighing 3.9 kilograms and having a market value in excess of $200,000. A Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) forensic chemist provided expert testimony confirming the contraband was methamphetamine.

During trial, Garcia testified in an unsuccessful attempted to convince the jury he had been coerced into transporting the drugs into the United States. However, at the time of his arrest, Garcia confessed he was to be paid $1,000 to transport the drugs.  

Garcia faces an enhanced mandatory minimum sentence of life imprisonment and a $20 million fine as the result of two prior federal felony drug convictions, one in 2002 and the second in 2005. 

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. J. Young.

 

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