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South Texas man sentenced to 17 ½ years for trafficking tons of marijuana

BEAUMONT, Texas - A 32-year-old San Benito, Texas man was sentenced Monday to 17 ½ years in federal prison for drug trafficking, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales, Eastern District of Texas. This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and various other agencies.

Jose Louis Rosenbaum pleaded guilty on Feb. 25 to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms (1.1 tons) of marijuana, and was sentenced Nov. 8 to 210 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.

According to information presented in court, Rosenbaum served as a "gatekeeper" or liaison between suppliers of marijuana in Mexico and U.S. marijuana wholesale customers. Rosenbaum's co-conspirators received the marijuana from Mexico that were then transported into the United States and taken to "stash houses" or staging areas controlled by Rosenbaum and members of the conspiracy. The marijuana was most commonly transported in commercial trucks driven by "jumpers," or individuals designated to drive the trucks past various law enforcement-controlled "check points" in the Rio Grande Valley. During this conspiracy, Rosenbaum was specifically associated with about 13,000 pounds (6½ tons) of marijuana, some of which was transported to Illinois and Pennsylvania.

This case was initiated in this district as federal authorities connected two traffic stops, one involving $249,000 in a hidden compartment of a car traveling west on Interstate 10 in February 2007, which was discovered by the Orange County Sheriff's Department Drug Interdiction division; and another case involving 1,194 pounds of marijuana in a commercial truck traveling east on I-10 in April 2007 which was discovered by the Texas Department of Public Safety in Chambers County. Rosenbaum was indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 20, 2008.

This case was investigated by the following law enforcement agencies: ICE HSI, the U.S. Coast Guard Criminal Investigative Service, DEA, the Orange County Sheriff's Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and state and local agencies in Atlanta, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke, Eastern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.