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Mexican national sentenced to prison term for smuggling cocaine

BROWNSVILLE, Texas - A Mexican national who drove a minivan into the United States with rocker panels loaded with cocaine was sentenced on Tuesday to 10 years in prison narcotics smuggling, announced U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Gilberto Rivera-Razo, 26, a Mexican citizen, was sentenced to 121 months imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle on Feb. 8. Rivera-Razo was convicted following a jury trial in November 2010 of both conspiring to and possessing with intent to distribute the 10 kilograms of cocaine found in the minivan he drove through the Gateway International Port of Entry in Brownsville, Texas in April 2010.

According to the court records, on April 21, 2010, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at primary inspection at the Gateway International Port of Entry referred Rivera-Razo to secondary inspection after questioning. In secondary, a K-9 alerted to the presence of a controlled substance near the rocker panels of the minivan. CPP agents discovered and seized a total of 16 bundles of cocaine located throughout the rocker panels on both the driver and passenger side of the vehicle.

Rivera-Razo has been in custody without bond since his arrest. He will remain in custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility where he will serve out his sentence. Rivera-Razo is subject to deportation upon completion of his prison term.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ana Cano and Joe Esquivel, Southern District of Texas prosecuted this case.