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Feb. 28, 2011

LAST OF FOUR CONVICTED FOR TRAFFICKING MORE THAN 250 KILOGRAMS OF COCAINE SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON

(MCALLEN, TEXAS) -- The last of four area men convicted for his part in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy was sentenced to prison today, United States Attorney Jose Angel Moreno announced today.

Lizandro Ramirez, 47, who pleaded guilty on Oct. 2, 2009, to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, was sentenced today to 135 months in federal prison without parole by United States District Judge Randy Crane. Ramirez’s co-conspirators Alejandro Alvarez-Reyes, 34, Hector Rubio-Garcia, 27, and Antonio Magana-Vargas, 22, have also been convicted following guilty pleas and have been sentenced.

The charges stem from an anonymous tip received by Starr County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force officers in April 2009 regarding a truck bearing City of La Grulla decals being used to transport cocaine from the Rio Grande River to a nearby residence in Rio Grande City. At that time, Ramirez was a City of La Grulla employee working at the City’s water plant.

On April 30, 2009, agents followed Ramirez as he drove a truck bearing City of La Grulla decals to a residence and watched as he backed the truck into the garage then left 10 minutes later.  Officers obtained and executed a warrant at the residence resulting in the discovery and seizure of 60 kilograms of cocaine in the garage. Ramirez was subsequently arrested along with Alejandro Alvarez-Reyes, 34, who agents encountered at the residence. The investigation continued and ultimately lead to yet another McAllen area residence, where 206 additional kilograms of cocaine were discovered and two men - Hector Rubio-Garcia, 27, and Antonio Magana-Vargas, 22 - were taken into custody. A total of 266 kilograms of cocaine was seized by agents.

All four defendants were indicted on May 19, 2009, and all ultimately pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. On Nov.16, 2009, Rubio was sentenced to 135 months in federal prison. Magana was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for his role in the conspiracy on Dec. 17, 2009. On Jan. 21, 2010, Alvarez was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison.  Ramirez will remain in custody  to serve out his sentence. 

The investigation leading to the indictment and convictions in this case was conducted by special agents of the Falcon Dam, Texas, resident office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), officers of the Starr County HIDTA Task Force and officers of the McAllen Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Casey MacDonald.

 

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