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Co-conspirator to Laredo Police Officer case sentenced to prison for drug smuggling

LAREDO, Texas - A convicted drug trafficker whose criminal history includes a conviction for conspiring with a former Laredo Police officer to distribute cocaine, was sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole last week.

This case was investigated by the following agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the FBI; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Laredo Police Department.

Guillermo Villarreal, 36, of Laredo, Texas, was sentence to 120 months in federal prison during an Aug. 10 hearing for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. In February of this year, Villarreal was convicted after pleading guilty to conspiring with former Laredo Police Department Officer Pedro Martinez III to commit the drug trafficking offense.

According to court documents, Martinez introduced Villarreal to a third person, who lived close to Villarreal. Martinez knew that Villarreal intended to make arrangements to store cocaine in this other person's residence. On Dec. 2, 2008 and on Feb. 5, 2009, Villarreal sold a quarter kilogram of cocaine to a government source at his residence. Before each sale, Villarreal retrieved the cocaine from the storage facility at the nearby residence, which was owned by the person Villarreal met through Martinez.

On Sept. 29, 2009, agents executed a search warrant at Villarreal's residence and at the storage facility. From the storage facility, agents seized about three kilograms of cocaine, a metal press used to press cocaine into kilogram-size bricks, and various other narcotics-trafficking paraphernalia such as scales, a blender and plastic wrap.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Kazen ordered Villarreal to pay a $6,000 fine and serve a five-year-term of supervised release after he completes the prison term. Following the hearing, Villarreal was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence.

Martinez, also charged and convicted for his part in the conspiracy, was sentenced last week to 78 months imprisonment.

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Sheldon and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roberto F. Ramirez and James McAlister, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.