Man “traveling for work” sentenced for smuggling 23 kilos of meth
McALLEN, Texas – A 53-year-old U.S. citizen living in Tamaulipas, Mexico, has been ordered to federal prison for importing meth into the United States, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Fernando Ramirez pleaded guilty Feb. 26.
Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered him to serve a 70-month sentence to be immediately followed by four years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence how this was not the first time he imported a controlled substance into the United States. Ramirez admitted to crossing loaded vehicles several times in the past. In sentencing Ramirez, Judge Crane further noted the seriousness of the crime.
On Dec. 11, 2020, Ramirez arrived at the Hidalgo port of entry and attempted to enter the United States from Mexico. Ramirez stated he was on his way to work from his home in Tamaulipas. He was referred for a secondary inspection where a K-9 alerted to the gasoline tank of the vehicle. Authorities inspected it and seized 44 packages of meth with a weight of approximately 23 kilograms.
The drugs had an estimated street value of $126,500.
Ramirez eventually admitted he knew the vehicle he was driving contained drugs and that he would be paid $500 to smuggle them into the United States.
Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Colton Turner prosecuted the case.