South Texas woman ordered to prison for smuggling $1.5M in meth
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 24-year-old La Joya woman has been sent to prison for possessing with the intent to distribute more than 19 kilograms of highly pure meth, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Karla Jessica Perez pleaded guilty Dec. 21, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos sentenced her to a total of 70 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional testimony that Perez purchased the vehicle in which the drugs were found, drove the vehicle into Mexico and back across the border into the United States. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that Perez’s role in the planning and organizing of the offense rose above that of a minor participant.
On June 18, Perez drove a white Jeep Patriot into the primary inspection area of the Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint near Falfurrias. A thorough search of the SUV revealed hidden compartments in the exhaust system and body panels that concealed 16 large bundles of narcotics.
Laboratory analysis later confirmed the substance in the bundles was meth with a total weight of 19.87 kilograms. The drugs had an estimated street value of more than $1.5 million.
Perez was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with the assistance of BP. Assistant U.S. Attorney John Marck prosecuted the case.