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Press Release

Drug trafficker sent to prison for importing 22 kilos of cocaine through RGV

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

McALLEN, Texas – A 37-year-old resident of Sacramento, California, has been sentenced for his role in a conspiracy to import narcotics through the Rio Grande Valley for further distribution into the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Shaun Michael Simmons pleaded guilty Oct. 11, 2023.

Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now ordered Simmons to serve 135 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Simmons had an aggravating role by acting in a leadership capacity over other members of the organization. In handing down the sentence, Judge Crane also noted Simmons’ criminal history.

On June 14, 2022, Dustin Oliver entered the United States from Mexico in a vehicle with an attached trailer through the Anzalduas Port of Entry in Mission. Upon initial inspection, law enforcement conducted an X-ray scan, observed anomalies in the trailer floor and referred Oliver to secondary inspection.

Through a physical search, law enforcement discovered 20 packages of narcotics concealed within aftermarket compartments located in the trailer floor.

The packages weighed approximately 22 kilograms and tested positive for cocaine.

The investigation revealed another co-conspirator, Ericka Iesha Thomas, recruited Oliver in Austin to import a controlled substance. Simmons had recruited Thomas to find an individual to transport narcotics from Mexico into the United States. Simmons coordinated and provided instructions for the pickup and drop off of the narcotics transport trailers and provided co-conspirators with money to make the trips to Mexico and back to the United States.

Both Oliver, 35, Indiana, and Thomas, 30, California, were previously sentenced to 24 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release for their respective roles in the conspiracy.

Simmons will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexa D. Parcell prosecuted the case.

Updated May 30, 2024

Drug Trafficking