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Narcotics
01/29/2020

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Texas sisters get 24 years for smuggling drugs into US

DEL RIO, Texas — Two South Texas sisters were each sentenced in federal court Wednesday to 24 years in prison, following their convictions for attempting to smuggle methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Eagle Pass office with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The sentencing was announced by U.S. Attorney John Bash, Western District of Texas.

Mary Ann Lara, 21, and Melissa Janet Lara, 24, both from San Antonio, were sentenced Jan. 29, by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses to 24 years in federal prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release. Both sisters were found guilty July 17, 2019, after a jury trial.

“The sentence imposed on the Lara sisters sends a clear message that there are serious consequences to trafficking controlled substances,” said Shane Folden, special agent in charge, HSI San Antonio. “HSI along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to seek out and bring to justice those involved in the illicit drug trade.”

A federal jury convicted the sisters July 17, 2019, of importation of methamphetamine; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Jurors also convicted Mary Ann of conspiracy to import methamphetamine. Evidence presented during trial revealed that on April 1, 2018, the defendants were attempting to enter the U.S. at the Eagle Pass (Texas) Port of Entry. CBP officers sent the sisters to secondary inspection where HSI special agents discovered approximately 38 kilograms of methamphetamine in non-factory compartments attached to the vehicle’s wheels.

The Lara sisters 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 Amy Marie Hail, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/31/2020