LAREDO, Texas — Three Mexican men and one U.S. citizen entered a guilty plea Tuesday for their part in a conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to deliver a large amount of the substance.
This case is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Aaron Hervey Esparza Villarreal, 27, from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, entered his guilty plea Aug. 4, in front of U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo. He admitted he was part of a conspiracy that involved smuggling cocaine hidden inside a tractor trailer. Jose Contreras Rodriguez, 58, and Ernesto Yadir Martinez Campos, 39, both from Mexico and, Viviano Hernandez, 41, a U.S. citizen residing in Mexico, pleaded guilty in July of 2020.
According to court documents, on Jan. 17, 2020, HSI observed two men, later identified as Rodriguez and Hernandez were working on a vehicle. Later that day, both got into a sedan, left the area and met up with an SUV. At that time, Hernandez handed over various trash bags to Villarreal in the SUV.
Local law enforcement attempted to stop the SUV, but Villarreal led them on a high-speed pursuit before crashing into the Evelyn Motel on San Bernardo Avenue. Inside the vehicle were 68 pounds cocaine in the trash bags. HSI also apprehended Hernandez and Rodriguez as they attempted to enter Mexico.
Campos was identified as the driver of the tractor trailer who brought the drugs into the United States from Mexico. He was also taken into custody.
On Oct. 28, Judge Marmolejo will impose sentencing for Rodriguez, Hernandez and Campos. Villarreal’s sentencing is set for Dec. 1. At the time of their sentencing hearings, all men face up to life in prison. All four have been and will remain in custody.
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Fawcett, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.