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Contraband
02/01/2011

Drug smuggler convicted at Pennsylvania trial

PHILADELPHIA - Hector Hugo Tovar-Sanchez, 25, of Cleveland, Texas, was convicted last night by a federal jury of a drug conspiracy that involved smuggling cocaine into the United States from Mexico. The conviction is the result of an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

The jury convicted Tovar-Sanchez, a legal permanent resident of the United States and a citizen of Mexico, of four counts including conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, two counts of distribution of 500 grams or more of cocaine, and one count of distribution of cocaine.

Tovar-Sanchez and his co-conspirators were responsible for bringing approximately 17 kilograms of cocaine and approximately 1,000 pounds of marijuana into the Allentown area. Additionally, evidence was introduced that Tovar-Sanchez was responsible for supplying an additional 50 kilograms of cocaine to distributors in North Carolina and Delaware.

During the investigation, it was determined that the narcotics were being smuggling into the United States from Mexico before being passed along to defendants in San Antonio and Houston. One of the co-defendants in this case was told that if his drug debts rose any higher, he would be taken to Mexico to answer to the bosses. The drugs were transported in U-Haul trucks, tractor-trailors and cars with hidden compartments.

Tovar-Sanchez also faces federal marijuana charges in Texas, along with a charge related to the discovery of a sawed-off shotgun in his home in Cleveland, Texas, at the time of his arrest.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 15, 2011. The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.

This case was investigated by ICE HSI with assistance from the Pennsylvania State Police, the Allentown Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria M. Carrillo.