Smuggling over $2M in fentanyl and other narcotics lands women in prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Two Houston women have been sent to prison following their convictions of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Clarissa Hernandez, 24, admitted her role in the conspiracy June 2, 2022, while her co-conspirator, Sarah Morales, 24, pleaded guilty April 28, 2022.
Today, U.S. District Judge David S. Morales ordered Hernandez to serve 120 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that detailed the conspiracy, which included the women purchasing firearms in Houston and exporting them to Mexico.
Morales was also previously sentenced to a 120-month term of imprisonment to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the complex and seriousness nature of the criminal activity.
On Feb. 11, 2022, Hernandez attempted to drive through a Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint, at which time a K-9 alerted to her vehicle. A search revealed 15 bundles of cocaine and 32,500 pills of disguised fentanyl concealed in the front and rear bumpers of her Chevrolet sedan.
Soon after, Morales also attempted to pass through the checkpoint. During a search, authorities discovered 12 bundles of cocaine, three bundles of heroin and one bundle of fentanyl concealed in the front and rear bumpers of her Ford sport utility vehicle.
At the time of their pleas, they admitted they had conspired together to smuggle a total of 25.36 kilograms of cocaine, 4.94 kilograms of fentanyl and 255 grams of heroin.
The drugs have a combined estimated street value of approximately $2.25 million.
Hernandez will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation with the assistance of BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marck prosecuted the case.
Updated May 31, 2023