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April 14, 2023McAllen, TX, United StatesNarcotics

Mexican man sentenced for smuggling over 8 kilos of narcotics in candy box following HSI, federal partner investigation

McALLEN, Texas — A Mexican citizen was sentenced today to more than 12 years in federal prison following his conviction for smuggling cocaine and methamphetamines. The investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with help from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

On April 13, a federal judge sentenced Nestor Alan Garcia, 28, of Monterrey, Mexico, to serve 144 months in prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard arguments on whether Garcia had a larger role in the conspiracy beyond his participation as a transporter. The court heard that Garcia should receive an appropriate sentence based on the amount and purity of the drugs he and others smuggled into the country. Following a four-day trial, the jury deliberated for approximately 45 minutes before returning a guilty verdict Sept. 22, 2022, on all six counts as charged.

“As a consequence of his drug trafficking activity, this defendant will spend more than 12 years in federal prison,” said HSI San Antonio acting Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “HSI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to protect our communities and bring drug smugglers to justice.”

According to the testimony, Garcia attempted to enter the Hidalgo Port of Entry in a taxi on May 13, 2022. He claimed he was going to a party in McAllen and had a box of “pulparindo” candy, puppies and various meat products. Authorities referred Garcia to secondary inspection. There, a search of the box of candy revealed approximately 6.2 kilograms of meth and 2.08 kilograms of cocaine.

Law enforcement testified that Garcia had attempted to hide the narcotics in a box of candy and later lied when he claimed he did not know how the drugs had been placed in the box or came into his custody. He coordinated the smuggling of the narcotics with his mother for days ahead of the smuggling event at the Hidalgo Port of Entry.

The defense attempted to convince the jury Garcia had no knowledge of the drugs and was simply doing a favor for his mother. The jury did not believe those claims and found him guilty as charged.

Garcia remains in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eliza Carmen Rodriguez and Lee Fry, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

For additional information about HSI’s investigative efforts, follow @HSI_SanAntonio.

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 more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 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.