South Texas meth trafficker heads to prison
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
McALLEN, Texas – A 26-year-old Corpus Christi man has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Gabriel Anthony Pena pleaded guilty Dec. 1, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Pena to serve 260 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. In determining the sentence, the court found that Pena’s role was that of an organizer or leader, as he had recruited another to transport narcotics from the Rio Grande Valley to Corpus Christi. The court noted the extent and lengthy duration of the scheme which involved at least 28 kilograms of meth seized over the course of multiple incidents, two of which involving the presence of a firearm. Judge Alvarez also emphasized the need to protect the community.
At the time of his plea, Pena admitted that between March and June 2021, he coordinated multiple smuggling attempts by recruiting co-conspirators to transport narcotics from the southern border to the Corpus Christi area.
In March 2021, a co-conspirator attempted to pass through the Falfurrias checkpoint with 24 kilograms of meth hidden between the frame and taillights of a Volkswagen Tiguan. At that time, authorities seized the narcotics and later determined that she had been recruited by Pena to transport through the checkpoint.
In April and June of 2021, Pena was stopped in Corpus Christi and found to be in possession of over 400 grams of the narcotic along with a firearm in his vehicle. Later, law enforcement executed a search warrant at his residence and discovered an additional 1.7 kilograms of meth.
Investigation revealed that the drugs being transported by the co-conspirator were intended to be distributed throughout the Corpus Christi area.
Pena 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 with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee Fry and Matthew Redavid prosecuted the case.
Updated December 1, 2022