NEW ORLEANS — Three Mexican illegal aliens pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to eight felony charges including conspiracy to distribute 1.4 kilograms of cocaine and more than 11 pounds of marijuana following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Raymond R. Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans, said, "Today's guilty pleas are the result of hard work by HSI and its law enforcement partners to investigate and seek prosecution of dangerous criminals who place their own illicit profits over the health and safety of countless law-abiding citizens. Drug dealers should take note HSI and its law enforcement partners are actively working to identify and arrest these parasites who prey on our communities." Parmer oversees a five-state area of responsibility including Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee.
According to court documents, Juan L. Hernandez, 25; Oliber L. Hernandez, 30; and Pedro A. Cruz, 28; all citizens of Mexico, each made illegal drug sales to undercover agents from March to April 2012. HSI and the Louisiana State Police subsequently executed search warrants in May during which agents seized cocaine and also a 9mm pistol in the possession of Juan Hernandez. Based on information discovered during the investigation, agents seized marijuana from a separate location.
In addition to the drug charges, each defendant also pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by an illegal alien, possession of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office also assisted with the investigation.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys John F. Murphy and Sandra E. Gutierrez.