Two Mexican Truck Drivers Sent to Prison for Importing Methamphetamine
LAREDO, Texas – Two men have been ordered to prison in separate, but similar schemes involving drugs given to them in Mexico and destined for the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Ernesto Siller-Valdez, a 40-year-old truck driver from Saltillo-Coahuila, Mexico, and Ricardo Isguerra Chavez, 43, of Michoacan, Mexico, both pleaded guilty Dec. 4, 2017, to conspiring to import methamphetamine in separate cases.
Today, Visiting U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison ordered them both to serve 60 months in federal prison. Not U.S. citizens, they are expected to face deportation proceedings following their sentences.
On Oct. 5, 2017, Siller-Valdez entered the United States via the World Trade Bridge port of entry in Laredo driving a 2007 Freightliner. He was referred to secondary inspection, at which time law enforcement discovered two wooden chock blocks and two fire extinguishers in the sleeper area of the cab. Further inspection revealed a total of 22.78 kilograms of methamphetamine concealed inside the blocks and fire extinguishers. Laboratory analysis revealed the drugs have a purity level of 97%.
Siller-Valdez stated he had met a male subject at a bar in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, who asked him if he was interested in making money by smuggling narcotics into the United States. Siller-Valdez agreed and was to be paid 30,000 Mexican pesos to transport the narcotics to Laredo. He met with that individual on Oct. 4, 2017. Siller-Valdez said he did not know exactly what he was smuggling but knew it was drugs.
In the Chavez case, he claimed that in early September 2017, four men approached him in Mexico and told him he would be paid 20,000 Mexican pesos for taking something into the United States. He claimed he was told that if he did not agree, the men would harm his family, so he agreed.
On Sept. 19, 2017, some unknown men dropped off two speaker boxes which he installed in his tractor. Chavez said he did not know exactly what was in the speaker boxes but knew it was illegal. The next day, he approached the Columbia Solidarity Bridge in Laredo driving a Tropex tractor and trailer, where law enforcement discovered 12 packages of a white, powdery substance found to be methamphetamine. The total amount found was nearly 21.956 kilograms.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection conducted both investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bukiewicz is prosecuting the cases.