Federal Jury Convicts Cuban of Importing Crystal Meth
|May 31, 2012|
McALLEN, Texas – Alexander Lorenzo Gil-Cruz, 39, a Cuban national, has been found guilty on two counts related to the importation of crystal methamphetamine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The federal jury returned the guilty verdicts just moments ago after a two-day trial and approximately one hour of deliberation in McAllen.
During trial, the United States presented evidence that Gil-Cruz drove a Ford Focus loaded with 10 kilograms of methamphetamine in a man-made hidden compartment from Mexico through the Anzalduas Port of Entry at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2012. The methamphetamine seized from Gil-Cruz’s vehicle was 98% pure and was valued at more than a quarter million dollars.
The prosecution also demonstrated that January 7th was not the first time Gil-Cruz had entered the United States driving such a vehicle. He was caught Dec. 12, 2011, driving a different Ford Focus, but also with an empty hidden compartment. Officers also discovered a photo of large amounts of money stacked on table.
The defendant testified and denied knowing the drugs were in his vehicle. He attempted to convince the jury that the purpose of his many trips to Mexico was to chat with women at the local mall and tried to imply the drugs were loaded into his vehicle while it was parked in the mall parking lot. The defense also tried to show the jury that Gil-Cruz was a good guy and, as a Cuban refugee, he would never betray the country that had given him so much.
The jury ultimately found him guilty of importing 10 kilograms of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute in excess of 10 kilograms grams of methamphetamine.
Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, who presided over the trial, has set sentencing for Aug. 8, 2012, at 9:30, at which time he will face no less than 10 years on each count of conviction. Gil-Cruz, a legal permanent resident, has been in custody since his arrest where he will remain pending sentencing.
The case was investigated by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kristen J. Rees and Patricia A. Rigney.