Four Armed Drug Traffickers Ordered to Prison
McALLEN, Texas – The final two of four men involved in stealing 246 kilograms of marijuana, some of whom also conspired to carry and use a firearm during and in relation to that crime, have been ordered to prison, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.
Mexican national 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. 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 Gonzalez to serve a 180-month sentence, while Gonzalez Jr. will serve 207 months in federal prison. Judge Crane previously sentenced Saldivar-Abrego and Vela to 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. 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. 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.