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November 3, 2016Eagle Pass, TXUnited StatesContraband

South Texas drug trafficker sentenced to life in federal prison for drug trafficking and money laundering

Defendant is a member of the Los Zetas Trafficking Organization

EAGLE PASS, Texas — A South Texas man, who is a member of the Los Zetas Trafficking Organization, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison for his leadership role in a cocaine trafficking and money laundering conspiracy.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin, Western District of Texas. This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The following agencies assisted with this investigation: U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Border Patrol, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Eagle Pass Police Department.

Luis Felipe Rodriguez, aka “Vaquero,” 40, from Eagle Pass, was sentenced Nov. 3 to mandatory life in federal prison by a U.S. district federal judge in Del Rio, Texas. He was arrested without incident Jan.16, 2014.

According to court records, on Sept. 3, 2015, a jury convicted Rodriguez on one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute, one count of bulk cash smuggling, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. During the trial, evidence was presented that Rodriguez and other co-conspirators from Piedras Negras, Mexico, smuggled into the United States more than 25 kilograms of cocaine concealed in hidden compartments inside vehicles.

Once the vehicles crossed through immigration checkpoints, the cocaine was delivered to San Antonio, Houston and Waco, Texas. At that point, drug proceeds totaling about $1.1 million were loaded into the vehicle and Rodriguez and his co-conspirators transported the money back to Mexico.

Evidence was also presented at trial that revealed Rodriguez had two prior felony criminal convictions in Maverick County: in 2004 for possession with intent to distribute marijuana; and, in 2005 (while on bond for the 2004 offense) for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana in Maverick County.

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

Updated: 11/07/2016