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Press Release

Mexican man sentenced for having meth welded to tires

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

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 33 year-old Mexican citizen residing in Matamoros, Mexico, has been ordered to federal prison for possessing 43 kilograms of meth, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Leonardo Banuelos-Garcia pleaded guilty Sept. 27, 2019.

Today, U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez handed Banuelos-Garcia a 96-month sentence. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. At the hearing, the court noted the quantity of narcotics involved in the crime.

On March 28, 2019, Banuelos-Garcia arrived at the Gateway Port of Entry in Brownsville driving a Jeep Liberty. Authorities noticed the sport utility vehicle was clean and had only one key and referred him to secondary inspection. 

Law enforcement noticed Banuelos-Garcia was sweating profusely and appeared nervous. An X-ray examination indicated anomalies in some of the tires.

Banuelos-Garcia was ultimately found in possession of 18 packages of meth welded to three tires of his Jeep Liberty. He admitted he was going to be paid $1000 to transport the narcotics.

He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Esquivel prosecuted the case.

Updated April 22, 2021

Drug Trafficking