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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANGELA DODGE

March 9,, 2012

PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
(713) 567-9388

1300+ Pounds of Marijuana Lands Pharr Smuggler in Prison

LAREDO, Texas – Juan Jose Cabrera Jr., 25, of Pharr, Texas, has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for possessing with the intent to distribute a total of 1,364 pounds of marijuana, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Cabrera pleaded guilty Dec. 20, 2011, admitting he was carrying marijuana in two separate hauls over the course of two months in 2011.

Senior United States District Judge Joseph Hood handed down the sentence this morning and further ordered Cabrera serve a four-year-term of supervised release following completion of that prison term.

On Aug. 24, 2011, at approximately 5:20 a.m., a Webb County Sheriff’s Deputy was patrolling Farm to Market Road 649 about three miles south of Mirando City, Texas, and pulled Cabrera over as he was driving a 2004 Chevrolet flat-bed utility pickup truck. As he walked up to talk to Cabrera, the deputy spotted what appeared to be an after-market compartment between the cab of the truck and the metal truck bed. The deputy also detected the strong odor of marijuana coming from the compartment. He then notified Border Patrol (BP) officers who arrived with a narcotics detention dog that immediately alerted to the presence of drugs. A search of the compartment uncovered approximately 823 pounds of marijuana wrapped with cellophane and coated with grease, in an apparent attempt to mask the drug’s odor. Cabrera was dressed in oilfield clothing to appear as an oilfield worker.

Investigators discovered that, at the time of the August incident, Cabrera had been recently arrested and charged for carrying 541 pounds of marijuana the previous month through Jim Hogg County. That load was discovered after a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper stopped Cabrera for failing to slow or move over for a stationary emergency vehicle. He had been released on bail for that charge when the August 2011 incident occurred.

Cabrera has been in custody since his August 2011 arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, BP, DPS and the Webb County and Jim Hogg County Sheriffs’ Departments. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Jim Hepburn and Special AUSA David White. The sentencing was handled by AUSA Homero Ramirez.