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Jan. 31, 2011

RIO BRAVO MAN SENTENCED TO LENGTHY PRISON TERM FOR TRAFFICKING COCAINE

(LAREDO, Texas) – A naturalized U.S. citizen and Rio Bravo, Texas, resident will be spending the next 210 months in federal prison for trafficking a load of 111 kilograms of cocaine, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Gerardo Humberto Garza-Saldivar, 49, was sentenced by United States District Judge Micaela Alvarez at a hearing this morning. Garza-Saldivar pleaded guilty in November 2010 to one count of possessing with intent to distribute the controlled substance. He has been in federal custody since his September 2010 arrest and will remain in custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where he will serve out his sentence. Judge Alvarex has also ordered Garza-Saldivar serve a five-year-term of supervised release upon completion of his sentence with the added condition that he perform 120 hours of community service.

The charges against Garza-Saldivar are the result of the discovery of five duffle bags containing 28 duct tape wrapped bundles containing a total of 111 kilograms of cocaine at the US Border Patrol Checkpoint (USBP) on I-35 on Sept. 5, 2010. At approximately 8:15 p.m., Garza-Saldivar approached the primary inspection lane at the USBP Checkpoint on IH-35, north of Laredo, Texas, driving a 2002 Sterling tractor towing a white trailer. After a K-9 alert at primary inspection, the vehicle was sent to secondary inspection where BP agents noticed a missing trailer seal had been replaced with a padlock. Garza-Saldivar was in possession of the key to the padlock. Inspection of the trailer resulted in the discovery and seizure of 111 bricks of suspected cocaine weighing one kilogram. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confirmed the substance was in fact cocaine.

The investigation leading to the indictment and conviction was conducted by Border Patrol agents and DEA special agents. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael C. Elliott.

 

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