Weslaco Man Convicted in Cocaine-Trafficking Conspiracy
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A federal jury sitting in Corpus Christi has convicted a 40-year-old resident of Weslaco on one count of conspiracy to commit cocaine-trafficking and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. The jury returned its verdicts against Marcos Garcia just a short time ago after less than two hours of deliberation following a three-day trial which included 18 government witnesses.
During the trial, the government presented testimony that Garcia was a commercial truck driver. On the evening of Sept. 4, 2014, Garcia picked up a load of produce in Donna and was scheduled to deliver it to Houston the next day. Garcia’s tractor trailer arrived at the Border Patrol Checkpoint near Falfurrias just after midnight on Sept. 5, 2014, but Garcia was not driving. He had solicited his brother-in-law and a 22-year-old female to drive the vehicle through the checkpoint, while Garcia passed through the checkpoint in another vehicle a few minutes prior.
Authorities arrested the two people in the tractor trailer after the discovery of 15 illegal aliens hidden in the trailer with the produce. Subsequently, 37 kilograms of cocaine was also found hidden in a false compartment underneath the trailer’s floor. The cocaine was found after the trailer had been seized by Border Patrol and stored at an impound lot.
The evidence at trial established that Garcia was going to resume driving his tractor trailer after his brother-in-law and the female successfully passed through the checkpoint. Garcia’s plan was to deliver the illegal aliens and the cocaine himself. For some time, Garcia believed that law enforcement would not discover the cocaine and filed paperwork with Border Patrol in an attempt to retrieve his trailer and the cocaine. However, law enforcement found the cocaine before Garcia could do so.
U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos presided over the trial and has set sentencing for Jan. 14, 2016. At that time, he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life imprisonment as well as a possible $10 million fine.
In addition, Garcia was arrested at the Falfurrias checkpoint driving another tractor trailer hauling produce on Oct. 31, 2014. Along with the produce were 24 illegal aliens hiding in the vehicle that Garcia was driving. He previously pleaded guilty to that offense and faces up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum $250,000 fine.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad W. Cowan is prosecuting the case.
Updated October 1, 2015