MCALLEN, Texas — A Mexican national was sentenced Wednesday to 20 years in prison for arranging the importation of 326 pounds of methamphetamines, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) assisted in the case.
Hermenegildo Espino-Trejo, 41, was sentenced Aug. 25 in federal court to 240 months in federal prison. At the hearing, the court heard additional information including how Espino-Trejo recruited an unwitting truck driver to import a multi-million dollar load of narcotics into the United States. Espino-Trejo’s sentence was enhanced after the investigation revealed he was an organizer and supervisor of the drug conspiracy. He is expected to face removal proceedings following completion of his sentence. Espino-Trejo pleaded guilty Dec. 2.
According to court documents, on Sept. 11, Espino-Trejo drove a tractor-trailer from Michoacan, Mexico, to Reynosa, Mexico. He gave the vehicle to another driver and instructed him to cross the border, then deliver it to a gas station in Pharr, Texas, where Espino-Trejo would then retake possession. However, at the Pharr Port of Entry, CBP officers discovered 148 kilograms of methamphetamine and one kilogram of heroin concealed within the trailer.Officers ultimately identified Espino-Trejo as the person who arranged the transportation, and took him into custody.
Espino-Trejo admitted he knew the controlled substances were in the trailer and still directed the driver to cross it into the United States where he planned further distribution.
The drugs had an estimated street value of approximately $2.4 million.
Espino-Trejo has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Redavid and Scott Greenbaum, of the Southern District of Texas, prosecuted the case.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 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.