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6 from south Texas sentenced to between 10 and 24 years in federal prison following their guilty pleas to smuggling thousands of tons of marijuana

MCALLEN, Texas — A total of six people were sentenced to prison Thursday for terms ranging from 10 to 24 years for their respective roles in a marijuana and cocaine conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The following defendants were sentenced to federal prison terms by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane.

  • Jose Guadalupe Rangel-Hernandez, 51, of Miguel Aleman, sentenced to 24 years and four months;
  • Carlos Guerra, 36, of Pharr, 17 1/2 years incarceration;
  • Guy Oshiro Lugo, 48, of Alamo, 14 years and one month incarceration;
  • Lineth Guerra, 39, of Mission, 13 years and four months' incarceration;
  • Deborah Garcia, 46, of Weslaco, 10 years and one month incarceration; and
  • Alberto Aguirre, 49, of Weslaco, 19 years and seven months' incarceration.

All six defendants had previously entered guilty pleas to one count of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. Additionally, Carlos Guerra and Lineth Guerra were found guilty of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

According to court documents, between 2009 and 2011, the defendants were part of a drug conspiracy headed by Israel Garcia which distributed thousands of tons of marijuana and multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine. In January 2011, Israel Garcia and Lineth Guerra were arrested in a hotel in McAllen and found with more than $300,000. Additionally, information was obtained resulting from their apprehension and led to the seizure of more than 7,000 kilograms (15,432 pounds) of marijuana.

The investigation revealed Rangel-Hernandez, Carlos Guerra, Lineth Guerra and Deborah Garcia all assisted Israel Garcia with transporting the narcotics from the Rio Grande Valley to Florida, Georgia and Ohio. A seventh co-conspirator, Israel Garcia, was also convicted and will be sentenced at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Sturgis, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.