Jury Convicts U.S. Woman Residing In Mexico Of Trafficking Methamphetamine
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A federal jury in Corpus Christi has convicted Jennifer Ellen Marie Rodriguez, 31, a U.S. citizen residing in Reynosa, Mexico, on one count of possessing with intent to distribute more than 10 kilograms of methamphetamine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The jury returned its verdict just moments ago following a three-day trial and less than an hour of deliberation.
During the trial, the government presented testimony that Rodriguez was pulled over by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper on June 23, 2012, near Encino. During that traffic stop, Rodriguez claimed to be traveling to San Antonio to attend her grandfather’s funeral. Rodriguez did not know the name or location of the funeral home and did not have appropriate attire expected for such an event.
Rodriguez provided consent to search her vehicle and was arrested after the methamphetamine was discovered hidden in a void behind the vehicle’s dashboard. The government also provided evidence that Rodriguez’s grandfather was a lifelong resident of Michigan and had passed away in 2011.
Rodriguez admitted at trial that she made up the story about the funeral. She testified she did not know the drugs were hidden in her vehicle, but was driving to San Antonio to exchange the vehicle for her kidnapped cousin. Rodriguez claimed that on the previous day, her cousin was kidnapped in Mexico and kidnappers demanded she deliver the vehicle to San Antonio in exchange for her cousin.
The government countered with evidence Rodriguez never told this story to law enforcement at the time of her arrest. In fact, the government demonstrated that she had only made the claim just a few days before trial began.
Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24, 2013, at which time she faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment and up to life imprisonment, as well as a possible $10 million fine. Rodriguez will remain in custody pending that hearing.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chad W. Cowan.