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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

California Woman Sentenced for Importing Methamphetamine and Heroin

LAREDO, Texas – A 42-year-old woman has been ordered to federal prison following her conviction of conspiracy to import methamphetamine and heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Aurelia Rufino-Pilar pleaded guilty Sept. 5, 2017.  

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Diana Saldaña ordered her to serve a total of 108 months in prison. She is a legal permanent resident, but could face deportation proceedings following her term of imprisonment.   

On April 21, 2017, Rufino-Pilar arrived at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge port of entry in Laredo in a taxi and applied for admission to the United States. At primary inspection, she stated she had luggage and some bags in the taxi. She claimed they were not hers and was just taking them to San Antonio for a friend.

She further stated that she was a legal permanent resident who had traveled from her home in Bakersfield, California, to Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and had stayed there two hours to receive treatment for psoriasis. She said she was going to take her friend’s luggage to San Antonio and then return to her home in California.

The taxi was referred to secondary inspection where agents discovered eight tubs of mole inside four duffle bags. The officers opened one tub and found a cylindrical object from which a sample was taken and tested positive for methamphetamine. A sample from another cylinder tested positive for heroin. In total, authorities discovered a total of 36.18 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine and 4.14 kilograms of heroin.

Rufino-Pilar ultimately admitted that the purpose of her trip was to transport narcotics to San Antonio and to seek treatment for her skin condition. She planned to take a bus to San Antonio to deliver the narcotics.

She has been in custody where she will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.  

Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bukiewicz is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Component(s): 
Updated January 31, 2018