Mexican Man Pleads Guilty On Eve Of Trial To Trafficking Methamphetamine
LAREDO, Texas - Andres Villarreal-Parades, 28, of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, has been convicted of possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Villarreal-Parades was set to begin trial tomorrow, but instead opted to plead guilty today.
Parades admitted trafficking 20.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine containing a 95% purity-level.
On July 28, 2014, authorities arrested co-conspirator Gilberto Jorge Rodriguez for a traffic violation, at which time they seized approximately 20.5 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine. Upon further investigation, authorities identified Villarreal-Parades as the person who arranged the drug load.
Villarreal-Parades was arrested Aug. 21, 2014, and seized telephones that were associated with the drug conspiracy. Through analysis, agents were able to connect the two defendants and discovered a drug operation that shipped large bulk methamphetamine from Laredo to Houston and Dallas.
The conspiracy spanned February through July 2014, during which time approximately 100 kilograms of methamphetamine, valued at millions of dollars, were moved throughout the United States.
Rodriguez, 48, of Laredo, pleaded guilty in December 2014.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia-Marmolejo, who accepted both of the pleas, will set sentencing a later date. At that hearing, each faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.
This charges are the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, police departments in Freer and Laredo as well as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Sanjeev Bhasker and former AUSA Raul Guerra prosecuted the case.