Armed Drug Trafficker Ordered to Serve 15 Years in Custody
McALLEN, Texas – Another member of an armed crew involved in stealing 246 kilograms of marijuana has been ordered to prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Mexican nationals Eduardo Rodriguez-Silva, 27, and Arturo Guadalupe Saldivar-Abrego, 30; Eliezer Jesus Vela, 39, of Pharr; and Luis Angel Gonzalez, 21, and Nery Gonzalez Jr., 29, both of Edinburg, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Rodriguez-Silva, Saldivar-Abrego, Gonzalez and Gonzalez Jr. also pleaded to conspiracy to carry and use a firearm during and in relation to a drug offense.
Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered Rodriguez-Silva to serve 60 months imprisonment for the drug trafficking and a 120-term of imprisonment for the firearm charge. The sentences will run consecutively for a total of 15 years in federal prison. He is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release.
Judge Crane previously sentenced Gonzalez Jr. to 207 months in prison, while Gonzalez, Saldivar-Abrego and Vela were ordered to serve 180, 96 and 60 months, respectively. Vela, Gonzalez and Gonzalez Jr. will also serve four years of supervised release following completion of the prison terms. Not a U.S. citizen, Saldivar-Abrego is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
On Oct. 9, 2015, a vehicle containing approximately 246 kilograms of marijuana was traveling on expressway 83. Rodriguez-Silva, Saldivar-Abrego, Gonzalez and Gonzalez Jr. soon approached in a second vehicle and fired gunshots at the load vehicle, forcing it to stop. They then transferred the marijuana into their vehicle. Following a pursuit, officers apprehended Saldivar-Abrego. Gonzalez and Gonzalez Jr. were arrested shortly thereafter. In March of 2017, Rodriguez-Silva was arrested. A subsequent investigation revealed Vela was the owner of the vehicle and that it was purchased knowing it was to be used to transport narcotics.
All will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI and police departments in San Juan and Alamo. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rolando Cantu and Kristen Rees prosecuted the case.