Sept. 3, 2010
TRAFFICKING METH RESULTS IN LIFETIME PRISON TERM FOR PREVIOUSLY CONVICTED DRUG TRAFFICKER
(LAREDO, Texas) – A third-time conviction for trafficking drugs lands trafficker in federal prison for life without parole, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
United States District Judge Judge George P. Kazen sentenced Gerardo Garcia, 45, a U.S. citizen who resided in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, to a mandatory term of life imprisonment without parole at a hearing today. Garcia was found guilty by a jury’s verdict on Jan. 12, 2010, after a day of trial testimony and a few hours of deliberation of importing 3.9 kilograms of methamphetamine, conspiring to and possessing with intent to distribute the methamphetamine. Because Garcia has two prior federal felony drug convictions - one in 2002 and another in 2005 - federal law imposes a mandatory term of life imprisonment as punishment for this, his third, drug trafficking conviction.
Garcia was arrested on Oct. 11, 2009, at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge Number I in Laredo, Texas, after methamphetamine was discovered in his pickup truck. During routine inspections at the bridge, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers referred Garcia to secondary for a more in depth inspection. While at secondary inspection, CBP officers using a probe found something in the vehicle battery. After a canine alerted and the battery was x-rayed, the battery was dismantled. In it, the CBP officers found six tape-wrapped bundles of methamphetamine weighing 3.9 kilograms with a market value in excess of $200,000. Garcia unsuccessfully attempted to convince the jury he had been coerced into transporting the drugs.
The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by CBP officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigation special agents. A Drug Enforcement Administration forensic chemist testified on behalf of the government at trial. Assistant United States Attorney D. J. Young prosecuted the case.
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