Jury Convicts Meth Smuggler
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A federal jury sitting in Brownsville has convicted a 35-year-old man for conspiracy and methamphetamine smuggling, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for less than three hours following a six-day trial before convicting Jesus Yzaguirre Jr., of Brownsville, on all four counts as charged.
The jury heard that on Feb. 25, 2017, Yzaguirre Jr. drove into the United States through the Gateway Port of Entry in Brownsville. At primary inspection, Yzaguirre said he had gone into Mexico to “borrow the van” he was driving from his uncle. He was referred for secondary inspection, at which time he then said he had gone into Mexico to pick up the van which belonged to him. Agents searched the van and discovered 29.4 kilograms of methamphetamine hidden within the floorboard and frame compartments.
Yzaguirre then gave a statement saying he thought he was bringing the van in for another person to use for alien smuggling. The person, a female friend whom he “bumped into in Matamoros” asked him to pick up the van at a parking lot, according to his statement. She was to pay him $50 for taking it into the U.S. and parking it at a certain location. Yzaguirre said he had previously done the same thing with a different van which he parked somewhere in Brownsville.
Further investigation revealed Yzaguirre had in fact crossed a commercial van on three other occasions, each time going through the Sarita checkpoint. Agents interviewed an acquaintance of Yzaguirre who said Yzaguirre had admitted to knowing there were drugs in the van when he was arrested and that he had been working for “La Guera” who was in charge of the drug loads.
Yzaguirre was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 29.4 kilograms of methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute the methamphetamine, conspiracy to import methamphetamine and importation of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera presided over the trial, and set sentencing for June 20, 2018. At that time, Yzaguirre faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison as well as a $10 million fine. He will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protections. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Oscar Ponce and Angel Castro are prosecuting the case.