Two Illegal Aliens Handed Significant Sentence for Trafficking Marijuana
BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Two undocumented aliens from Mexico have been ordered to federal prison for possession with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Oscar Erick Calvillo-Lores, 37, of Reynosa, Tamulipas, Mexico, and Jose Manuel Portillo-Guerrero, 42, of Valadeces, Tamulipas, Mexico, pleaded guilty May 2, and March 28, 2017, respectively.
Today, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen, who accepted the guilty pleas, handed Calvillo-Lores a 10-year sentence, while Portillo-Guerrero was ordered to serve a total of 192 months in federal prison. Not U.S. citizens, both are expected to face deportation proceedings upon completion of their sentences. Portillo-Guerrero’s sentence includes upward adjustments or increases in his calculated sentencing guideline range because he was found to be a leader within the drug trafficking organization and because he was found to have obstructed justice during the prosecution of the case.
Calvillo-Lores and Portillo-Guerrero were two of seven charged in a multi-state drug trafficking conspiracy.
On Aug. 10, 2011, agents approached a suspected narcotics stash house in Mission and found Portillo-Guerrero, Calvillo-Lores and Jose Alejandro Aldava at the residence. Agents arrested all three upon the discovery of 2,120 kilograms (4,464 pounds) of marijuana within the garage of the residence. They also found marijuana hidden within concreate pillars and some hidden within a trailer inside the garage.
Four others – Ramiro Espinoza, 47, of Brownsville, Moises Ramirez, 34, of Brownsville, Javier Alejandro Aldava, 31, an illegal alien from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Herber Bienvenido Tejada, 36, of Lodi, New Jersey - were previously sentenced to a terms of 81, 60, 52 and 48 months imprisonment, respectively. Espinoza, Ramirez and Tejada had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cocaine trafficking, while Javier Aldava entered his plea to trafficking marijuana.
Arnoldo Bermea, 39, of Mission pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cocaine trafficking and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8, 2018.
All seven conspirators charged were part of a multi-state drug trafficking and money laundering organization that had existed since 2003. The drug trafficking organization, based out of the Rio Grande Valley, would hire truck drivers to haul loads of produce to northern states with ton quantities of marijuana and multi-kilogram quantiles of cocaine hidden in false compartments. Drug proceeds would then be transported back to the Rio Grande Valley.
Calvillo-Lores and Portillo-Guerrero 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 led the nearly three-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation with the assistance of IRS - Criminal Investigation; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; Hidalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force; Border Patrol and the Brownsville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Castro is prosecuting the case.