Department of Justice Logo and United States Attorney's Office Header

July 19, 2012

(713) 567-9388

Zapata Man Handed Sentence for Trafficking 200+ Kilos of Marijuana

LAREDO, Texas – Lenny Salinas, 25, of Zapata, Texas, has been handed a 63-month-term of federal imprisonment following his conviction of possession with the intent to distribute 216.2 kilograms of marijuana, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. A Laredo jury found Salinas guilty on March 7, 2012, following one day of trial testimony and approximately 4 ½ hours of deliberation.

Today, U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen sentenced Salinas to the more than five -year-term and further ordered he serve four years of supervised release following completion of that prison term.

According to evidence and testimony presented in court during the trial, on Sept. 21, 2011, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents executed two federal search warrants for adjoining properties on Alamo Street in Zapata. At that time, agents located a pickup truck and a horse trailer and discovered approximately 78.2 kilograms and approximately 138 kilograms of marijuana within each, respectively.

Further testimony revealed that while agents were awaiting the arrival of the search warrants on that day, Salinas rode up on horseback and stated he was the owner of the truck and he had recently purchased it from the registered owner. He claimed he owned both the truck and horse trailer and that there was marijuana in the truck. He further stated that whatever was in the horse trailer was his as well. 

At trial, Salinas, who did not testify, claimed agents did not tape record his confession and argued he was a young man to whom the jury should show leniency.

Visiting District Judge Joseph M. Hood presided over the trial. Previously released on bond, Salinas was ordered into custody following return of the verdict by Judge Hood.

The case was investigated by HSI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Josh Ackerman and Raul Guerra. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Rabe represented the government at the hearing today.