Possession of 100% Pure Methamphetamine Leads to Life in Federal Prison
|Nov. 6, 2012|
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Rigoberto Munoz-Vargas, 38, has landed in federal prison for life following his convictions for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and being an alien in possession of a firearm, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Munoz-Vargas pleaded guilty Jan. 31, 2012.
Today, United States District Court Judge Andrew S. Hanen, who accepted the guilty plea, sentenced Munoz-Vargas to life in prison on the possession charge and 24 months for the firearms conviction, which will served concurrently as well as a $425,000 fine.
At his re-arraignment, Munoz-Vargas admitted he arranged for the shipment of 1.3 kilograms of 100% pure methamphetamine to be delivered to his girlfriend’s apartment in the Houston area. He intended to use scales found during a search of his girlfriend’s residence to weigh the methamphetamine, after which he intended to distribute it. Munoz-Vargas also admitted he had purchased a .40 caliber Fabrique Nationale handgun and stored it at the apartment where the methamphetamine was found. Munoz-Vargas is a Mexican national with no legal status to enter, work or reside in the United States.
The 2 ½-year investigation leading to the charges revealed Munoz-Vargas was the leader of a long-term narcotics conspiracy, in which large quantities of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine were transported from Mexico, through the Rio Grande Valley, to Houston. Munoz-Vargas and his organization utilized ports of entry throughout the Southern District of Texas in attempts to smuggle narcotics. Between November 2001 and March 2009, Munoz-Vargas and his organization were linked to nine separate narcotics seizures with a total of more than 300 kilograms of marijuana and seven kilograms of cocaine.
Munoz-Vargas was arrested, along with his nephew Edgar Munoz-Munoz, 25, also a Mexican national, following the return of a partially unsealed, 14-count indictment in December 2011 and a search of his home as well as his girlfriend’s apartment by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Munoz-Munoz pleaded guilty Feb. 22, 2012, to possession with intent to distribute 1.3 kilograms of methamphetamine. He was sentenced to 108 months in prison on May 30, 2012. Both have been in custody since their arrests.
The indictment and conviction of Munoz was the result of an investigation by HSI with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety and Customs and Border Protection. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Karen Betancourt and former Southern District of Texas AUSA V. LaTawn Warsaw.