McALLEN, Texas – A 54-year-old woman has been sent to federal prison for illegally importing approximately 76 kilograms of meth, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Ana Luisa Ponce pleaded guilty Nov. 1, 2021.
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Ponce to serve 262 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard Ponce had admitted to previously transporting narcotics for the same drug trafficking organization. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that Ponce, who has a significant prior criminal record, was arrested with a very large amount of a very dangerous drug.
On Aug. 25, 2021, Ponce attempted to cross into the United States through the Hidalgo Port of Entry. She claimed she was planning to visit a friend in Houston, but a K-9 alerted authorities to the presence of narcotics.
At secondary inspection, an X-ray scan revealed anomalies in the gas tank of Ponce’s vehicle. Law enforcement discovered a plastic pouch containing liquid meth weighing approximately 76 kilograms. She ultimately admitted that she knew she was transporting narcotics.
The drugs had an estimated street value of $1.4 million.
Ponce has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons Facility to be determined in the near future.
Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarina S. DiPiazza prosecuted the case.