CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Two Colombian men were sentenced on Wednesday for trying to distribute 208 kilograms (457 pounds) of cocaine. The joint investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).
Esneider Hidrobo, 47, a Colombian national, unlawfully present in the United States, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for distributing a controlled substance, to be followed by 10 years probation. Additionally, Hidrobo received a concurrent sentence of 20 years for illegally re-entering the United States after having been deported. Luis Alberto Arias-Lopez, 39, Colombian national was sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 years probation. Both men are subject to deportation after they complete their prison sentences.
"As a result of this investigation, two distributors have been put out of business and jailed. This seizure represents a significant amount of cocaine being kept out of our communities," said John Connolly, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Houston. "The results were accomplished through the cooperative efforts of Department Homeland Security law enforcement personnel and prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office."
The investigation was initiated after information was received by ICE HSI regarding a large shipment of cocaine being smuggled aboard a sea-going vessel, along with two stowaways.
On May 20, Department of Homeland Security law enforcement personnel boarded the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Parnaso at Port Aransas, Texas, and discovering and seizing 208 kilograms of cocaine and the two stowaways.