Mexican National Convicted of Moving 600 Lbs. of Marijuana
|Feb. 3, 2012|
LAREDO, Texas – Joel Hugo Robles Perez, 24, has pleaded guilty in federal court to having nearly 600 pounds of marijuana intended for distribution, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Robles Perez was scheduled for trial Feb. 14, 2012, and was in court today for a related hearing but suddenly waived that hearing and opted to plead guilty in the case.
On Dec. 9, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) and U.S. Border Patrol (BP) assisted by deputies with the Zapata County Sheriff’s Department acted on information that a large amount of marijuana was being held at a residence in Zapata, Texas. Upon their arrival, Robles Perez, a Mexican national legally in the United States at the time, answered the door and gave permission to search the property. He subsequently informed the agents they would find approximately 600 pounds of marijuana hidden in the a truck parked behind the home. Agents then discovered approximately 270 kilograms of marijuana hidden in various places within the vehicle.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia-Marmolejo, who accepted the guilty plea today, has set sentencing for May 24, 2012, at which time Robles Perez faces a minimum of five and up to 40 years in prison and/or a $5 million fine to be followed by a term of supervised release of at least four years.
The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by ICE-HSI, BP and the Zapata County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Homero Ramirez prosecuted the case.