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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Jury Convicts Mexican Truck Driver In Methamphetamine/Heroin Conspiracy

LAREDO, Texas - A federal jury has returned a guilty verdict against Juan Manuel Reyes Vasquez, 36, of Nuevo Laredo, for engaging in a conspiracy to posses with intent to distribute in excess of a kilogram of heroin and 500 grams of methamphetamine, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The verdicts were returned following four days of  trial and approximately 10 hours of deliberation.

Vasquez and others were identified during a long term Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (ICDETF) investigation as being part of conspiracy that was engaged in smuggling multiple kilograms of methamphetamine and heroin from Nuevo Laredo to Laredo for further distribution to other areas to include Dallas.

The jury heard evidecne that Vasquez was a tractor-trailer driver who was employed with a legitimate company and who would travel regularly between Nuevo Laredo to Laredo to deliver goods for the company. Unbeknownst to his employer, Vasquez was also illegally importing heroin in his tractor. After delivering the company’s goods in Laredo, he deviated from his route to meet a co-conspirator and exchange narcotics.

Agents were able to identify and locate the tractor in question and observe a meeting between Vasquez and co-conspiractor Blanca Abundez. Following the meeting, officers conducted a traffic stop of her vehicle and discovered two separate bags each containing eight bundles of drugs. Abundez had transported eight bundles of methamphetamine believing she was going to deliver the drugs to Vasquez, but instead Vasquez delivered eight bundles of Heroin to her. 

Following the traffic stop and arrest of Abundez, agents were able to discover that several bundles of drugs still remained at the Abundez residence. A search warrat was executed which resulted in the discovery of an additional 17 bundles of methamphetamine.

The total weight of drugs seized for the two days was approximately 28 kilograms of methamphetamine and nine kilograms of heroin. The overall long-term OCDETF investigation yieled a total of 61, 23 and nine kiolgrams of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, respectively. 

Four others previously entered pleas of guilty and are awaiting sentencing - Christian Abundez, 23, and Blanca Abundez, 28, both of Laredo; Ilmar Sierra, 35, of Dallas; and Rolando Salinas Apac, 33, of Nuevo Laredo. Vasquez will remain in custody pending sentencing which will be set at a later date before U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen.

The case was investigated by DEA with the assistance of the Webb County District Attorney’s Office and the Laredo Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Mary Lou Castillo prosecuted the case. 

Updated April 30, 2015