Mission Resident Sentenced to Prison for Cocaine Possession
McALLEN, Texas – A lawful permanent resident who was residing in Mission has been ordered to prison for possessing with the intent to distribute approximately 50 kilograms of cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. A McAllen federal jury convicted Leonel Luis Nordhausen-Cuevas, 59, on July 21, 2017, following a two-day trial and less than an hour of deliberation.
Today, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Hinojosa handed Nordhausen-Cuevas a 10-year sentence. Nordhausen-Cuevas is expected to face loss of his legal status in the U.S. and deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
During trial, the jury heard that a Border Patrol (BP) agent was conducting surveillance at the StarrCo farms south of La Grulla on March 11, 2016, and observed Nordhausen-Cuevas drive down to a ramp near the Rio Grande River, enter the brush and return to his truck carrying something heavy. He then drove to a building on the farm and carried something inside.
Soon after, another agent arrived and observed Nordhausen-Cuevas standing outside the truck. He claimed the truck was not his and that someone else had just exited the truck and ran south. The agent searched the truck and found a fertilizer bag containing approximately 25 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in small brown bundles with distinctive markings.
Nordhausen-Cuevas had the truck’s keys on him, but still claimed it was someone else who was driving it.
The first agent arrived at the scene and identified Nordhausen-Cuevas as the person he saw pickup something from the river area based on his clothing and stature. That agent then investigated the first building that Nordhausen-Cuevas entered and found another fertilizer bag full of cocaine bundles, just like the one in the truck.
Nordhausen-Cuevas later claimed that a “Martin” had been the driver, but gave no more information about “Martin,” upon questioning. The jury heard that there were no employees named “Martin” working on the farm at that time.
Nordhausen-Cuevas will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
BP and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph T. Leonard and Roberto Lopez Jr. are prosecuting the case.