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Narcotics
02/21/2018

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South Texas man sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for trafficking cocaine through a US port of entry

Defendant tried to escape from law enforcement while going through inspection

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — A Mexican man was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison for trafficking cocaine through the Brownsville port of entry.

This sentencing was announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick, Southern District of Texas. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).   

Gerardo Leal, 33, U.S. citizen who was residing in Mexico, was sentenced Feb. 21 by U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera to 36 months in federal prison and two years of supervised release. Leal pleaded guilty to the charges July 19, 2017.  In handing down the sentence, Judge Olvera noted no matter the difficulties Leal may be encountering, he should do some prison time because there was no reason that existed in this world to break the law.

According to court documents, on June 15, 2017, Leal arrived at the Gateway Port of Entry in Brownsville driving a Mazda 3. At the time, he claimed to be going to Sun Loan Company in Brownsville. When officers sent Leal to secondary inspection and moved the Mazda to the vehicle lift for further inspection, Leal attempted to run back to Mexico but was detained before he reached the Mexican border.

Several officers had to assist in placing Leal in handcuffs. After securing Leal, officers continued their inspection and soon discovered five kilograms of cocaine concealed in a false compartment within the center console of the vehicle.

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Elena Salinas, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.  

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/06/2018