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Press Release

Laredo men receive significant sentences for trafficking $4 million of marijuana

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 35-year-old Laredo resident has been ordered to federal prison after conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 1,261.5 kilograms of marijuana, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Jose Luis Villalba, pleaded guilty in October 2020 as did Hector Gonzalez, 35, also of Laredo.

Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzalez Ramos ordered Villalba to serve a 120-month sentence to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional information including evidence detailing his role in the offense as a manager and supervisor for the drug-trafficking organization.

Gonzalez received his sentence April 7. U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered him to 132 total months in prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release.

On July 9, 2016, Villalba and Gonzalez coordinated the transportation of a large load of marijuana inside a tractor-trailer past the Border Patrol checkpoint north of Laredo. Law enforcement intervened and recovered approximately 2,775 pounds of marijuana.

The marijuana had an approximate street value of $4 million.

Villalba was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future, while Gonzalez is in custody.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez prosecuted the case.

Updated April 13, 2021

Drug Trafficking