Mexican Men Sentenced for Cocaine Conspiracy
|Dec. 12, 2012|
LAREDO, Texas – Mexican Citizens Sergio Espericueta, 43, Juan Antonio Hurtado-Garcia, 52, Hugo Garcia-Santos, 40, of Durango, and Oziel Hernandez, 43, have been sentenced for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Espericueta and Hurtado-Garcia, of Monterrey and Nuevo Laredo, respectively, were both ordered to serve 151 months imprisonment. Garcia-Santos was given a sentence of 90 months imprisonment, while Hernandez will serve 18 months.
A gold tractor loaded with cocaine was supposed to be moving north on April 4, 2012. When agents approached the residence on Chickasaw Drive in Laredo where the tractor was parked, they discovered and seized 159.5 kilograms of marijuana, 295 AK-47 magazines and 2,000 rounds of .223 caliber ammunition, all from under the house. The next day, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents encountered Garcia-Santos, who lived at the residence, and had agreed to store the magazines, ammunition and marijuana for someone else. The gold tractor belonged to his brother-in-law, Hurtado-Garcia, who, along with Espericueta, built a false compartment in the fuel tank for the purpose of concealing cocaine. Agents discovered the gas tank had been damaged, was leaking and in need of repairs.
On April 17, agents located the gold tractor at a garage in Laredo and there encountered Hernandez as he was in the process of working on the fuel tank. Simultaneously, other agents approached Espericueta at his residence on Middlestone Drive in Laredo. After obtaining consent to search, agents discovered in the residence four duffle bags containing 59 wrapped bundles of cocaine weighing a total of 69.75 kilograms. In a shirt pocket of Espericueta’s, which was found hanging in a closet, agents also discovered a rough diagram of a false compartment in a fuel tank along with $2,000 in cash.
Espericueta, the brother-in-law of Hernandez, had hired Hernandez to repair a gas tank for a diesel truck. When he started working on the tank, Hernandez realized the tank had a compartment and that it was for concealing drugs. However, he continued to work on it anyway and expected to receive $300 from Espericueta for doing this work. Espericueta himself admitted to agents that he was hired by others to rent a house in Laredo for the purpose of storing and moving cocaine, build the compartment in the fuel tank and expected to be paid $2,000.
Hurtado-Garcia was arrested at the Laredo Port of Entry Bridge on April 17 as he attempted to enter the United States. He admitted he was hired to coordinate the movement of cocaine loads from Mexico into the United States. Hurtado-Garcia also admitted that he delivered the load of cocaine to Espericueta on April 16 and that he turned over the gold tractor to Espericueta so that Espericueta could repair the fuel tank with the hidden compartment since it was leaking.
The case was investigated by Officers with Homeland Security Investigations, Laredo Police Department and by the Drug Enforcement Administration. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roberto F. Ramirez.