May 20, 2010
JURY FINDS LAREDOAN GUILTY OF TRANSPORTING 391 POUNDS OF COCAINE
(LAREDO, Texas) - A federal jury has found Heriberto Benavides, of Laredo, guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute approximately 391 pounds of cocaine, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. The trial began on Friday, May 14, 2010, and ended on Tuesday, May 18, 2010, with the return of the jury's verdicts.
The jury found Benavides was part of a conspiracy to possess approximately 391 pounds of cocaine that was seized on Jan. 7, 2009.
During trial, the jury heard the testimony of investigating agents and others about how Benavides arranged for a tractor trailer driver to transport the load of cocaine to Atlanta, Ga., in exchange for $300 per kilogram. Acting on information about the illicit load to be transported in a tractor trailer of a specific Laredo trucking company with which Benavides is associated, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents set up surveillance and later stopped the tractor trailer and seized the load of cocaine. Agents also followed up on two cars that were seen during surveillance delivering the cocaine at a warehouse and learned that the two cars were delivered to those drivers at the H.E.B. Store parking lot. Agents obtained a store video which showed Benavides dropping off the drivers at the store.
Benavides was arrested the same day by ICE agents and has been in custody without bond since that time.
Benavides faces a mandatory statutory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment in addition to a fine of up to $4 million at sentencing, which is set for Aug. 25, 2010.
This case was investigated by ICE and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andy Guardiola.
# # #