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Press Release

San Antonio septuagenarian convicted of trafficking $1 million in marijuana

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

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 70-year-old San Antonio woman has pleaded guilty to possessing with the intent to distribute more than 90 kilograms of marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

On Sep. 11, 2022, Diana Vela drove a Ford Fusion sedan into the primary inspection area of the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint located near Falfurrias. A service K-9 alerted to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle. When authorities asked for permission to search the sedan, Vela reported to have drugs in the trunk.

When agents opened the trunk, they discovered 10 large, vacuum-sealed bundles of marijuana weighing over 200 pounds.

Laboratory analysis later confirmed the substance in the bundles was marijuana.

The marijuana had a total weight 91 kilograms with an estimated street value of more than $1 million.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos will impose sentencing April 12. At that time, Vela faces up to 40 years in prison as well as a maximum $1 million possible fine.

She was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with the assistance of BP. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Marck and Robert D. Thorpe Jr. are prosecuting the case.

Updated January 11, 2023

Drug Trafficking