- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A man arrested in August for attempting to smuggle methamphetamine through the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on mile marker 29 on Interstate 35 was sentenced Monday in federal court in Laredo to 10 years in prison.

A federal grand jury indicted Jose Luis Hernandez on Sept. 16 on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine.

The drug charges are each punishable by 10 years to life in prison.

After a two-day trial in federal court before U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, jurors convicted Hernandez of the possession charge.

During the sentencing hearing, Marmolejo handed Hernandez a 10-year and one-month prison sentence.

On Aug. 18, Hernandez approached the checkpoint in a GMC Envoy.

Hernandez was referred to secondary inspection when a K-9 unit alerted agents to the possible presence of contraband, according to a criminal complaint filed Aug. 20.

During secondary inspection, Border Patrol agents discovered a trap door in the rear floor area, which when opened granted access to the gas tank.

Further inspection of the gas tank revealed 26 PVC pipes about 10 inches in length sealed with a blue substance on both ends, the complaint states.

“One of the PVC pipes was opened which revealed a bundle wrapped in purple cellophane paper. The substance inside the bundle … tested positive for methamphetamine,” the complaint states.

In a post-arrest interview with Homeland Security Investigations special agents, Hernandez stated he picked up the vehicle from a woman at the downtown H-E-B parking lot in Laredo and that he was to deliver the vehicle to two men in Dallas that same day.

He also stated that he was to be paid $3,000 upon delivery of the vehicle to Dallas.

Hernandez will be placed on a five-year term of supervised release following his incarceration.

(Philip Balli may be reached at 728-2528 or [email protected])

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(c)2015 the Laredo Morning Times (Laredo, Texas)

Visit the Laredo Morning Times (Laredo, Texas) at www.lmtonline.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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