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Press Release

Trafficking meth in an Igloo cooler results in prison time

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

McALLEN, Texas – A 25-year-old Mexican citizen illegally residing in Monte Alto has been ordered to federal prison after admitting to possessing with intent to distribute 140 kilograms of meth, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Jose Maria Hernandez-Alvarez pleaded guilty Dec. 3, 2021.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered Hernandez to serve a 70-month sentence. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his/h imprisonment.  

On Sept. 8, 2021, law enforcement was conducting surveillance which led to a traffic stop. At that time, Hernandez gave consent for a search of his car.

Authorities soon discovered approximately 15.5 kilograms of meth in an Igloo ice chest in the trunk of his vehicle. Hernandez claimed ownership of the narcotics and admitted he had more drugs stored at his residence. A search at that location resulted in the discovery of an additional 123.5 kilograms of meth.

Hernandez stated he had been living in the United States for three months and, during that time, had received three shipments of meth from Mexico.

The estimated street value of the meth is $490,000.

Hernandez has been and 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 conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Hidalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Alexis Garcia prosecuted the case.

Updated August 8, 2022

Drug Trafficking