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Mexican national gets life sentence for drug distribution

Stepdaughter sentenced to 58 months for money laundering

HOUSTON - A leader of a drug trafficking organization that distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana was sentenced to life in federal prison Monday. The sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and local law enforcement task force officers.

Miguel Zamora, 58, a previously deported Mexican national, was sentenced April 19 in the Southern District of Texas to life imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from December 2004 until September 2007. Zamora also received a 20-year sentence to be served concurrently for laundering the drug proceeds.

Zamora, who was previously deported in 2004 after serving five years for an earlier federal drug offense, pleaded guilty to the two most serious counts of a 14-count indictment on Oct. 14, 2008. He has been in federal custody since his arrest on Oct. 7, 2007. As part of his sentence Zamora was ordered to forfeit his interest in property that was used to facilitate the offenses.

U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes also sentenced Zamora's step-daughter, Olivia del Carmen Rodriguez, 33, a naturalized U.S. citizen from El Salvador residing in Houston, to 58 months in prison for her role in the money laundering. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to the money laundering count and has been in custody since her arrest on Oct. 22, 2007.

The court found that Zamora was a leader in a drug trafficking organization that distributed thousands of kilograms of cocaine and marijuana. The court also determined that millions of dollars in drug proceeds were laundered by Zamora, assisted by his stepdaughter, Rodriguez.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Martha Minnis and Katherine Haden, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.