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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

April 26, 2011

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

HEROIN SEIZURE AT THE VETERAN’S INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE LEADS TO INDICTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA WOMAN

(BROWNSVILLE, Texas) - A Brownsville federal grand jury has returned a two-count indictment charging Tracey Joel Hernandez with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute 5.73 kilograms (12.6 pounds) of heroin, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. 

Hernandez, 36, a resident of North Carolina, was the driver and sole occupant of a car that attempted to cross the U.S./Mexico border at the Veteran’s International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas, on April 2, 2011. Hernandez was arrested after an inspection by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents of the car she was driving was found to contain four bundles of black tar heroin in the radiator. Hernandez was referred by CBP officers to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents for further investigation. The heroin has an estimated value of $1.2 million. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Felix Recio has ordered Hernandez be held in federal custody without bond pending further criminal proceedings. She will be arraigned on the newly issued indictment in the near future.

Each of the felony charges, conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute heroin, carry a statutory minimum punishment of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison. In addition, each charge carries a fine of up to $10 million and a supervised release term of up to five years.   

This case was investigated by CBP and HSI. Assistant United States Attorney V. LaTawn Warsaw is prosecuting the case.

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