Mexican man “traveling for work” sentenced to more than 5 years in federal prison for smuggling 48 pounds of methamphetamines

MCALLEN, Texas – On July 13, a Mexican man was sentenced for his role in importing 48 pounds of methamphetamines into the United States.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) investigated this case.

Fernando Ramirez, 53, from Tamaulipas, Mexico, was sentenced July 13, in federal court to 70 months in federal prison to be followed by four years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence how this was not the first time he imported a controlled substance into the United States. Ramirez admitted to crossing loaded vehicles several times in the past. In sentencing Ramirez, the judge further noted the seriousness of the crime.

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According to court documents, on Dec. 11, 2020, Ramirez arrived at the Hidalgo Port of Entry, Hidalgo, Texas and attempted to enter the United States from Mexico. Ramirez stated he was on his way to work from his home in Tamaulipas. He was referred for a secondary inspection where a K-9 alerted to the gasoline tank of the vehicle. CBP inspected and seized 44 packages of meth with a weight of approximately 48 pounds. The drugs had an estimated street value of $126,500.

Ramirez eventually admitted he knew the vehicle he was driving contained drugs and that he would be paid $500 to smuggle them into the United States.

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Colton Turner, Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.