News and Press Releases

Falfurrias Marijuana Distributor Lands in Federal Prison

April 16, 2013

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Jose Maria Carbajal Jr., of Corpus Christi, Texas, has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison for his involvement in a marijuana conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

On May 16, 2011, Carbajal pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and to making a false statement on a loan application to a federally insured bank. Today, Senior United States District Judge John Rainey sentenced him to 108 months on each count of conviction to be served concurrently. 

Carbajal, 42, led an organized effort to transport marijuana from September 2008 to January 2011 through ranches around the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint using four-wheel-drive vehicles known as gators to avoid detection. During Carbajal’s plea, and according to court documents, Carbajal’s organization used four-wheel-drive vehicles which would be loaded with marijuana at a point south of the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint. Then, the gators would be piloted through ranches to a point north of the checkpoint so the marijuana could be transported via ordinary means further into the United States for distribution. During the investigation, one of the marijuana-laden gator vehicles was apprehended and another was found abandoned on a ranch.

In December 2010, according to court documents, Carbajal discussed a Dec. 18, 2010, marijuana seizure and his assistance to the Zeta drug cartel with respect to uncovering the identity of those who were cooperating with the government. As part of this assistance, Carbajal claimed to have shown two Zeta operatives the home addresses of two Brooks County law enforcement officials. According to the recorded conversation, the Zeta operatives planned to kidnap the law enforcement officials to coerce them into revealing the names of people cooperating with the government in their drug investigations.

In December 2011, five Brooks County men who assisted Carbajal also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana in a separate case before United States District Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos. They are set for sentencing later this year.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations and the Brooks County Sheriff’s Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jon Muschenheim and Julie Hampton as part of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.

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