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Contraband
03/18/2014

Southwest Texas woman sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for drug trafficking

EAGLE PASS, Texas — A local woman was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in federal prison for conspiracy to import heroin.

This sentence resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Marisol Valdez, 27, from Eagle Pass, Texas, was sentenced March 18 to 144 months in prison for conspiracy to import heroin. The judge also ordered Valdez to serve five years of supervised release and pay a $3000.00 fine. Valdez pleaded guilty to the charge July 10, 2013.

"Some people may mistakenly see quick and easy profits with smuggling and trafficking narcotics," said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala, HSI San Antonio. "However, this sentencing demonstrates the serious consequences that await those who engage in this criminal activity. HSI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to bring narcotics traffickers to justice."

According to court documents, on Feb. 8, 2013, HSI special agents arrested Valdez for attempting to smuggle 25.72 kilograms (57 pounds) of heroin into the United States from Mexico, as she attempted to cross through the Eagle Pass Port of Entry. During CBP's routine inspection, officers discovered 42 packages smuggled in three non-factory compartments located inside her 2008 Nissan Rogue vehicle.

According to HSI, Valdez used the rocker panels, rear tire well and hatch area of the vehicle to hide these packages of narcotics. Law enforcement field tested one of the packages, which tested positive for heroin. Valdez was immediately arrested and taken into custody without incident. Just days after her arrest, special agents learned that Valdez was connected to a major Drug Trafficking Organization working out of the Eagle Pass, Texas area.

This case was prosecuted in the Western District of Texas, Eagle Pass Branch Office.