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Press Release

Couple who smuggled cocaine with kids in the car ordered to prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

LAREDO, Texas – A husband and wife from Monterrey, Mexico, have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions of conspiracy and importing nearly $1 million in cocaine into the country, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Mario Ramirez-Gomez, 49, and his wife, Maria Gonzalez-Esparza, 42, pleaded guilty Oct. 1, 2019.

Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña, who presided over the sentencing, ordered Ramirez-Gomez and Gonzalez-Esparza to serve 63 and 24 months in prison, respectively. Not U.S. citizens, they are both expected to face removal proceedings following their incarceration. At the hearing, the court heard that they had agreed to smuggle the drugs because they had both lost their jobs and were in debt.

On Aug. 3, 2019, the couple attempted to enter the United States at the Juarez–Lincoln International Bridge in Laredo. After an X-ray of their vehicle revealed anomalies, law enforcement officers searched the car and found 30 cocaine bundles hidden in secret compartments within the vehicle’s seats.

The cocaine weighed a total of 30 kilograms and had a street value of approximately $960,000.

The couple’s two minor children were riding in the car with them during the smuggling attempt.

Ramirez-Gomez and Gonzalez-Esparza both have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Fawcett prosecuted the case.

Updated January 21, 2020

Drug Trafficking