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Contraband
02/09/2011

2 men receive lengthy prison sentences for drug trafficking

BEAUMONT, Texas - Two men have received lengthy prison sentences for their roles in a wide-scale drug trafficking conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales on Wednesday. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement.

Brian Holmes, 51, of Austell, Georgia, was convicted on Oct. 4, 2010, of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, two counts of interstate travel in aid of racketeering, and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana. He was sentenced to 210 months in federal prison Feb. 9 by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone. Holmes was also ordered to forfeit an 18-wheeler and $1.5 million.

Co-defendant, Gilberto Guerra, III, 36, of McAllen, Texas, pleaded guilty on Sept. 22, 2010, to attempting to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison today by Judge Crone.

According to court documents, on Sept. 15, 2007, federal agents stopped a vehicle containing over 6,000 pounds of marijuana that was registered to Holmes. Further investigation revealed that Holmes was involved in a major marijuana distribution enterprise responsible for bringing thousands of pounds of marijuana through Texas for distribution throughout the country. Guerra owned a stash house in the Rio Grande Valley which was used in the conspiracy to store drugs.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment on July 15, 2009, charging multiple defendants with drug trafficking violations. To date, 22 defendants have been convicted.

This case is being investigated by the following agencies: ICE HSI; the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service; DEA; Orange County Sheriff's Office Drug Interdiction Unit; Texas Department of Public Safety; Jefferson County Crime Lab; U.S. Border Patrol; ATF; and the Allentown, PA Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Baylor Wortham, Eastern District of Texas.