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May 23, 2012

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Dallas Woman Heads to Federal Prison in Marijuana Conspiracy

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - Rhonda Raquel Reyes, 29, of Dallas, Texas, has landed in federal prison for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Reyes was convicted following a one-day bench trial Feb. 23, 2012.

Today, U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle, who presided over the trial, sentenced her to 63 months, to be followed by a four-year-term of supervised release during which time she must perform 100 hours of community service. In handing down the sentence, Judge Tagle noted Reyes was not forthright with her statements about her knowledge of the events in the conspiracy.

At the trial, testimony established that on Jan. 29, 2009, agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) intercepted more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana hidden in large cable spools at the SAIA freight terminal in La Feria, Texas. Brownsville DEA agents secured assistance from their counterparts in Dallas to determine the end destination for the marijuana and the individuals involved in the conspiracy.

Undercover agents intercepted a U-Haul being driven by Dale Allen Lynch, 25, of Fort Collins, Colo., as it attempted to retrieve the marijuana from the Dallas area SAIA freight terminal. It was later learned Reyes rented the U-Haul that was being used to move the marijuana to the next location from the SAIA terminal and gave the keys of the vehicle to the co-conspirator who was apprehended at the terminal. Later that same day, Reyes filed a false report with the Dallas Police Department alleging the U-Haul had been stolen. Reyes provided the police with an incorrect address and untrue version of events in order to distance herself from the botched conspiracy.

Further investigation and co-conspirator testimony revealed Reyes had been present at a similar narcotics transaction two weeks prior to this event. Additionally, evidence introduced during  trial showed that less than two weeks after the instant offense, the address Reyes provided police in the stolen vehicle report as the scene of the vehicle theft was also the recipient address in two UPS packages containing approximately 75 pounds of marijuana.

During trial, Reyes testified that although she rented the U-Haul for a co-conspirator and she suspected him of being involved in the distribution of narcotics, she had no knowledge of the use of the U-Haul on that occasion for the transportation of the 1,000 plus pounds of marijuana. However, the United States provided evidence that she had previously admitted to knowing the U-Haul was probably going to be used for something illegal.

Reyes was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Lynch was previously sentenced to 25 months in prison. Two others charged in relation to this conspiracy – Jorge Martinez, 29, and Juan Antonio Martinez Jr., 35, both of Houston – have also been convicted and later sentenced to 84 and 156 months in prison, respectively.

This case was investigated by DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David A. Lindenmuth.