News and Press Releases

Verdict Returned in 475 Pound Marijuana Case

March 7, 2012

LAREDO, Texas – Lenny Salinas, 25, of Zapata, Texas, has been found guilty of possession with the intent to distribute 216.2 kilograms of marijuana, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

According to evidence and testimony presented in court yesterday, on Sept. 21, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) agents executed two federal search warrants for adjoining properties on Alamo Street in Zapata, Texas. 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.

Today, following a day of trial testimony and approximately 4 ½ hours of deliberation, the jury found Salinas guilty of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

Visiting District Judge Joseph M. Hood, who presided over the trial, announced that sentencing would take place before Senior District Judge George P. Kazen at a date to be determined later. At that time, Salinas faces at least five and up 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $5 million in addition to a minimum of four years of supervised release following completion of that prison term. Previously released on bond, Salinas was ordered into custody following return of the verdict.

The case was investigated by ICE-HSI and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Josh Ackerman and Raul Guerra.

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