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October 8, 2020Laredo, TX, United StatesContraband

Mexican man sentenced for conspiring to import more than 8.8 kilograms of cocaine

LAREDO, Texas — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) led an investigation resulted in the sentencing of a Mexican man who was convicted for conspiring to import more than 8.8 kilograms of cocaine.

On Oct. 8, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana sentenced Omar Jaime Flores, 42, from Monterrey, Mexico, to 36 months in prison. In imposing the sentence, the court noted he was a border crosser and now will be forever banned from the United States. Flores pleaded guilty to the charges Dec. 2, 2019. During the course of the investigation, ICE HSI learned that Flores is a not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings after serving his sentence.

"While some may mistakenly view smuggling controlled substances as a path to a quick profit, this sentencing demonstrates that serious consequences await those who engage in this criminal activity,” said Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden of ICE HSI San Antonio. “We will continue to utilizing our broad authorities to bring to justice those who blatantly ignore the laws of this nation and threaten the welfare of our communities."

On Sept. 20, 2019, Flores attempted to enter the United States at the Gateway to the Americas Port of Entry in Laredo driving a 2003 Ford Explorer. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Protection (CBP) conducted an x-ray inspection of the Explorer and saw anomalies near the vehicle’s front fender.

Upon further examination, CBP discovered a hidden compartment filled with bundles of cocaine. The packages had a total weight of 8.8 kilograms with an estimated street value of nearly $225,000.

During questioning by ICE HSI, Flores admitted that he had been hired to smuggle narcotics into the United States.

Flores has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

ICE HSI conducted the investigation with the assistance of CBP.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Fawcett, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

Updated: 10/16/2020