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Press Release

Mexican National Found Guilty of Importing and Possessing Marijuana

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

PECOS – A federal jury convicted a Mexican national last week of importing and possessing marijuana.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents encountered Jose Manuel Ayala-Alas, 26, and six other co-defendants hiding in the brush in the High Lonesome Mountains on June 22, 2022. USBP agents were able to apprehend the group with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Aircraft Operations Division.  Backtracking the group’s footprints, troopers flying the DPS helicopter assisted agents in the discovery of 10 burlap sacks containing approximately 603 pounds of marijuana hidden in the brush.

Ayala was found guilty of one count of importation of marijuana and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  A sentencing date has not been set.  Ayala faces up to 40 years in prison on each count.

Ayala’s co-defendants, Leonel Ayala-Alas, 23; Jeronimo Alas-Ayala, 29; Julio Ayala-Torres, 28; Arturo Gonzalez-Terrazas, 40; Pedro Rio-Molina, 20; and Jose Mirey Trueba-Molina, 19, all from Mexico, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  All are scheduled to be sentenced in November 2022.

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Greg Millard, El Paso Division made the announcement.

The DEA, with valuable assistance from USBP and DPS, is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Ellis and Amy Greenbaum are prosecuting the case.


Updated September 27, 2022

Drug Trafficking