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Press Release

Houston resident sentenced for attempting to bring kilos of deadly fentanyl to Galleria Mall

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 22-year-old man has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute approximately 4.65 kilograms of fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Juan Alvarado-Vargas pleaded guilty April 5.

Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo imposed a 72-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the prison term, Judge Marmolejo noted that Mexican Fentanyl is extremely dangerous and responsible for deaths all over the United States.

On Oct. 3, 2021, Alvarado-Vargas attempted to drive through the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint along U.S. Highway 59 near Freer. During a search of his vehicle, authorities discovered approximately 4.65 kilograms of fentanyl hidden inside his car battery.

At the time of his plea, Alvarado-Vargas admitted that smugglers had offered him approximately $4,500 to illegally transport drugs into the United States from Mexico. He further admitted that his ultimate delivery destination was the Galleria mall in Houston.

Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller drug that has morphine and opioid-like side effects, but works at a mere one-hundredth of the/of a regular dose. Inadvertent exposure to high doses of fentanyl in micrograms can result in respiratory failure, overdose and ultimately death. Remember #OnePillCanKill

Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez prosecuted the case.  

Updated June 16, 2022

Drug Trafficking