Brooks County Marijuana Traffickers Sentenced to Federal Prison
|May 10, 2013|
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Five area men have been sent to prison for conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Edward Mata, 28, Richard Scott Patton, 41, Luis Andres Longoria, 40, and Servando Guerra, 62, all pleaded guilty in December 2011.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos sentenced Guerra to 46 months in prison, while Patton, Longoria, Guerra and Gonzalez received sentences of 36 months each. All the sentences will be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release. Upon handing down the sentences, Judge Ramos noted the length of time the marijuana conspiracy existed and the large amount of narcotics trafficked.
The men, all residents of Falfurrias, were part of 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. Agents determined that this organization was led by Jose Maria Carbajal Jr., 42, also of Falfurrias, who was prosecuted in a separate case and who was previously sentenced to nine years in prison.
They all pleaded guilty in December 2011, at which time the government described the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles by this organization in their criminal enterprise. The gators 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.
The organization was led by Carbajal from his Brooks County ranch. Longoria helped Carbajal scout ranches and roads and assisted in the transportation of drugs. Patton usually transported the marijuana through the brush and ranches until it arrived north of the checkpoint, while Mata and also assisted Carbajal in arranging the transportation of drugs. In addition, Longoria’s and Mata’s residences were frequently used by this organization to store large amounts of narcotics after it has circumvented the checkpoint. Guerra also assisted in the transportation of marijuana for the organization. Once the drugs made it north of the checkpoint, Gonzalez transported the drugs through ranches and also helped in scouting the ranches and roads.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Department of Public Safety 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 Drug Enforcement Task Force.