Women get 6 years for trying to smuggle meth into the US in car tires

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MCALLEN, TEXAS – Two local women have been ordered to federal prison following their convictions of conspiring with each other to import approximately 50 kilograms of 99% pure meth from Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Helen Garza and Herminia Cantu-Garcia, both 43 and of Rio Grande City and  Roma, respectively, pleaded guilty in late February.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane imposed a 78-month sentence for both women to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release.

The women planned to import the narcotics Dec. 4, 2019. On that date, Garza drove a car from Mexico and attempted to enter the United States through the Roma Port of Entry. Authorities inspected the vehicle and found hidden compartments within its tires. Upon further examination, they ultimately found multiple bundles containing 50 kilograms of meth with a value of approximately $170,000.


Garza admitted she knew there were drugs in the car.

Further investigation revealed Cantu-Garcia had coordinated the drug trafficking with Garza and other individuals.

“The sentencing  of Garza and Cantu-Garcia sends a clear message regarding the serious consequences for those who engage in criminal activity,” said Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “The vast scope of this criminal scheme would have had a devastating effect on the citizens of south Texas. HSI along with our law enforcement partners will continue to seek out and bring justice to those involved in the illicit drug trade.”

Both women have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

HSI conducted the investigation with assistance from Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristina Pekkala prosecuted the case.

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