BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Two illegal aliens from Mexico were sentenced Tuesday for possession with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana.
This sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez, Southern District of Texas. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for nearly three-years under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) with assistance of the following agencies: Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI, Hidalgo County (Texas) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force; U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol; and Brownsville Police Department.
On Jan. 9, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen sentenced Oscar Erick Calvillo-Lores, 37, of Reynosa, Tamulipas, Mexico, to 10 years; Jose Manuel Portillo-Guerrero, 42, of Valadeces, Tamulipas, Mexico, was ordered to serve a total of 192 months in federal prison. Portillo-Guerrero’s sentence includes upward adjustments or increases in his calculated sentencing guideline range because he was found to be a leader within the drug trafficking organization and because he was found to have obstructed justice during the prosecution of this case. Since both are not U.S. citizens, they are expected to face deportation proceedings following their release from prison.
Calvillo-Lores and Portillo-Guerrero were two of seven charged in a multi-state drug trafficking conspiracy.
According to court documents, on Aug. 10, 2011, agents approached a suspected narcotics stash house in Mission, Texas, and found Portillo-Guerrero, Calvillo-Lores and Jose Alejandro Aldava at the residence. Agents arrested all three upon the discovery of 4,464 pounds of marijuana within the garage of the residence. They also found marijuana hidden within concrete pillars and some hidden within a trailer inside the garage.
Four others, Ramiro Espinoza, 47, and Moises Ramirez, 34, both from Brownsville; Javier Alejandro Aldava, 31, an illegal alien from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico; and Herber Bienvenido Tejada, 36, from Lodi, New Jersey, were previously sentenced to terms of 81, 60, 52 and 48 months imprisonment, respectively. Espinoza, Ramirez and Tejada had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to trafficking cocaine; Javier Aldava pleaded guilty to trafficking marijuana.
Arnoldo Bermea, 39, from Mission, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cocaine trafficking and is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 8.
All seven conspirators charged were part of a multi-state drug trafficking and money laundering organization that had existed since 2003. The drug trafficking organization, based in the Rio Grande Valley, hired truck drivers to haul loads of produce to northern states with tons of marijuana and multi-kilogram quantiles of cocaine hidden in false compartments. Drug proceeds were then transported back to the Rio Grande Valley.
Calvillo-Lores and Portillo-Guerrero will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Castro, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.