BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A south Texas man was sentenced Monday to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison for smuggling tons of marijuana into the United States from Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. The investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Cameron County Sheriff's Office.
Miguel Angel Mora-Gonzalez, 22, from Weslaco, Texas, was convicted in February 2011 following his guilty plea to possession with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of marijuana. The sentence imposed April 16 includes upward adjustments in his calculated sentencing guideline range because he attempted to obstruct justice while incarcerated. Evidence indicated he planned to lie to agents, and he sent messages to potential witnesses instructing them not to implicate him as the leader. He also received an increase in his sentence because the evidence at sentencing indicated he had been smuggling narcotics into the United States for more than two years. The court found he smuggled more than 3,000 kilograms (6,600 pounds) of marijuana into the United States.
According to court documents, evidence that was presented Nov. 21, 2010 proving that Mora-Gonzalez was the leader of the conspiracy in which he and four others were arrested with 694 kilograms (1,527 pounds) of marijuana north of beach access number #6 on South Padre Island in Texas.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Castro, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.