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October 7, 2021Nogales, AZ, United StatesNarcotics

HSI Nogales investigation results in drug trafficker sentenced to 5 years

TUCSON, Ariz. – A twice removed Mexican national was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for drug trafficking, following an investigation by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted by the United States Border Patrol.

“This sentence is the result of dangerous work carried out by HSI and our partners for the benefit of our society,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge for HSI Phoenix. “Together, we will continue to identify and investigate those who attempt to bring that often deadly poison into our communities.”

Anastacio Alvarez-Lion, 41, of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rosemary Marquez to five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. On Aug. 26, Alvarez-Lion pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine and to illegal reentry after removal.

The investigation into the case revealed that Alvarez-Lion operated as an “arete” (trusted supervisor) for a Mexican-based drug trafficking organization. Alvarez-Lion served as a guide and supervisor for a group of Mexican nationals who transported narcotics into the United States using backpacks. Alvarez-Lion was arrested on June 30, 2020, in Tucson after delivering a load of narcotics to a trusted courier. Agents arrested Alvarez-Lion, who was in a vehicle that had three backpacks containing approximately 1.46 kilograms of cocaine, 342.5 grams of heroin, 19.19 kilograms of methamphetamine, as well as a loaded handgun magazine.

The United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move.

HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 10/13/2021