Skip to main content

An official website of the United States government

April 22, 2022McAllen, TX, United StatesNarcotics

South Texas woman sentenced to more than 21 years for illegally importing $1.4M in meth, following ICE HSI, federal partner investigation

MCALLEN, Texas – A south Texas woman sentenced to more than 21 years for illegally importing approximately 76 kilograms of methamphetamines, following an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Ana Luisa Ponce, 54, from Brownsville, Texas, was sentenced April 22 in federal court to 262 months in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard Ponce had admitted to previously transporting narcotics for the same drug trafficking organization. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that Ponce, who has a significant prior criminal record, was arrested with a very large amount of a very dangerous drug. Ponce pleaded guilty Nov. 1, 2021.

“This 21-year sentence highlights the success of HSI’s collaborative efforts in combating drug trafficking, like methamphetamines, along the southern border” said Shane Folden, Special Agent in Charge for HSI San Antonio. “HSI is committed to holding those accountable who recklessly push this poison into our communities.”

According to court documents, on Aug. 25, 2021, Ponce attempted to cross into the United States through the Hidalgo Port of Entry. She claimed she was planning to visit a friend in Houston, but a K-9 alerted authorities to the presence of narcotics.

At secondary inspection, an X-ray scan revealed anomalies in the gas tank of Ponce’s vehicle. Law enforcement discovered a plastic pouch containing liquid meth weighing approximately 76 kilograms. She ultimately admitted that she knew she was transporting narcotics.

The drugs had an estimated street value of $1.4 million.

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarina S. DiPiazza, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

HSI encourages you to report suspicious activity, you are urged to call 1-866-348-2423.

HSI is a directorate of ICE and 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 over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 special agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 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.

Updated: 04/25/2022