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April 23, 2014McAllen, TX, United StatesNarcotics

South Texas drug trafficker sentenced to life in prison

MCALLEN, Texas — A south Texas convicted drug trafficker was sentenced to life in prison Thursday, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

This investigation was led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) along with U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Daniel Nunez, 38, of Hidalgo, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane to life in prison. Crane noted that this was a significant drug trafficking conspiracy over a long period of time. Nunez pleaded guilty to the following drug trafficking charges Nov. 27, 2012: conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, and conspiracy to transport and attempt to transport monetary instruments to Mexico to promote drug trafficking.

"This Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) OCDETF investigation, working in collaboration with DEA, dealt a major blow to the Nunez Drug Trafficking Organization by sentencing Nunez to life in prison," said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala, HSI San Antonio. "HSI is committed to making our communities safer by conducting joint robust investigations with our law enforcement partners."

According to court documents, Nunez had been involved in an organization that had crossed marijuana into the United States from Mexico. The organization arranged for marijuana to be transported across the Rio Grande River from Mexico in the Military Highway area, and further transported it to stash locations in Edinburg and Hargill. From there, the marijuana was taken to another stash location where it was loaded onto tractor trailers for further distribution around the areas of Dallas, Texas; Panama City, Fla.; Orlando, Fla.; and Steele, Ala. Nunez also arranged to transport the proceeds of his drug-trafficking organization from various locations in Florida back to Hidalgo County; from there it was further transported into Mexico.

Previous court records indicate that Nunez's criminal acts were exploited through narco-corridos that were posted to YouTube titled "Corridos De Arranque" that sung of "El Patron y El Comandante," "El Comandanta y Su Gente," "El Guero y su Clicka," "El Reinocertonte (M-50)" and El-M-3.

Several others have been charged and convicted with sentences so far ranging from more than two years to nearly 18 years in prison.

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Profit, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted this case.