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January 26, 2011

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Three other Laredoans convicted in same case serving prison terms

(LAREDO, Texas) – A Laredoan convicted in April 2010 of conspiring to and possessing with intent to distribute more than 445 kilograms of marijuana has been designated a career offender and sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison for two drug trafficking convictions, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

On Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, visiting United States District Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced Antonio Cavazos, 29, of Laredo, to 210 months in federal prison on each of the two counts of conviction. The sentences are to be served concurrently. Indicted in February 2009 along with three others who were also involved in the conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute the 445.44 kilograms of marijuana seized at a residence on the 400 block of Rio Vista in Laredo, Cavazos pleaded guilty to both charges on April 13, 2010.

The three other Laredoans arrested and charged with drug trafficking offenses in the same indictment have also been convicted after pleading guilty to either conspiring to or possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance arising from the same seizure of marijuana - Antonio Vallejo Jr., 36, Jose Guadalupe Rodriguez, 27, and Edgar Samaniego, 20 – were sentenced in March and August 2010 to prison terms of 50 months, 108 months and 50 months, respectively.  

Cavazos’ lengthy criminal record which includes two prior convictions for possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and convictions for armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping led the court to apply a career offender enhancement. That increased Cavazos’ Criminal History category to a level VI, the highest level applicable in the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which Judge Hanen applied to the adjusted recommended base offense level resulting in the 210-month prison term. 

Cavazos has been in federal custody since his transfer from state custody in March 2010. He will remain in federal custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prison facility to be designated in the near future. The other defendants are serving their prison terms.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the Laredo office of the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of the Laredo Police Department Narcotics Unit.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Roberto Ramirez.

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