BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Two South Texas women were sentenced Thursday to lengthy federal prison sentences following their convictions for smuggling methamphetamine inside bottles of fabric softener and soap.
This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Crystal Yvette Martinez, 25, and Tina Marie Trevino, 24, both from Brownsville, were sentenced March 3 by U.S. District Judge Hilda Judge Tagle to 240 months and 75 months in federal prison, respectively. Both will also serve five years of supervised release after they complete their prison sentences. Martinez was convicted Nov. 19, 2014, following a two-day trial; Trevino pleaded guilty Nov. 5, 2014.
According to court documents, on or about May 19, 2014, Martinez was a passenger in a black Chevy Tahoe driven by Trevino. The two women presented themselves at the B & M International Port of Entry in Brownsville with a large quantity of Downy fabric softener bottles and Zote soaps. Trevino told officers that the fabric softener and soaps were for a laundromat business she was starting.
The vehicle and occupants were sent to secondary inspection where a canine alerted to the presence of narcotics. CBP officers field tested the contents of the bottles and soaps which yielded a positive result for the properties of methamphetamine. The total weight of the substances was 115.94 kilograms or 255 pounds.
Trevino admitted she was aware she was bringing an illegal drug into the United States, but Martinez denied knowing. However, a CBP officer testified that the two women were seen crossing the border with the same type of merchandise (fabric softener and soaps) May 18, 2014, the evening before their arrest. Trevino admitted that the trip the night before was a dry run to determine how port-of-entry inspectors would react. Trevino testified at trial that both women were aware they were bringing in drugs and that they both would share in the profits of $5,000 for the trip.
The jury ultimately returned a verdict of guilty against Martinez on all four counts as charged to include conspiring to possess with the intent to import and distribute115 kilograms of methamphetamine.
Both women will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ana Cano and Joe Esquivel, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.