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Press Release

Felon sentenced for transporting cocaine

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 49-year-old man has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of importing a large quantity of cocaine into the United States via Laredo, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Willie Earl Rucker Jr., of Memphis, Tennessee, pleaded guilty Aug. 6, 2019, to importing 500 grams or more of cocaine and conspiracy to do so.  

Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered Rucker to serve 72 months in federal prison to be followed by four years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court cited Rucker’s extensive criminal record, which included prior felony convictions for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, sale of cocaine and assault with intent to commit robbery with a deadly weapon. The court also noted that Rucker admitted he had transported drugs From Mexico on three prior occasions and had been working for a drug trafficking organization for a year.

On May 12, 2019, Rucker attempted to enter the United States at the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge #1 in Laredo. After a positive K-9 alert and an x-ray examination, authorities located six bundles of cocaine concealed within his vehicle’s battery. The cocaine weighed 3.421 kilograms and was valued at more than $80,000.

Rucker admitted that he planned to transport the drugs from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to his residence in Memphis. He expected to receive approximately 30 pounds of marijuana as payment for the job.

He was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender 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 Jennifer Day prosecuted the case.

Updated January 22, 2020

Drug Trafficking