LAREDO, Texas - A 30-year-old Harlingen man has been
ordered to prison for 2o years for his involvement in the attempted importation
of methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick.
Alfredo Aguilar Jr. was found guilty at a bench trial
Sept. 6, 2018, before U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle. Co-defendants Cristen
Nicole Cano, 29, of Combes, and Cristal Hernandez, 23, of San Benito, had
previously pleaded guilty their respective roles Aug. 7, 2018.
Today, Judge Tagle sentenced Aguilar to a total of 240
months in prison. At the hearing, Aguilar was held accountable for being the
leader and organizer of the attempted drug importation event. The court also
sentenced Cano and Hernandez today, each receiving 60 months. Aguilar will
serve a 10-year-term of supervised release following his release from prison.
Cano and Hernandez will serve two-year and five-year terms, respectively.
On May 15, 2018, Aguilar, Cano and Hernandez attempted to
enter the United States at the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge
Port of Entry in Laredo through the pedestrian lane. Cano and Hernandez were
carrying bags of groceries, including four cans of jalapeños and hominy.
During primary inspection, authorities shook the cans,
noting they were unusually heavy, and heard what sounded like powder rather
than liquid. They were referred to secondary, at which time the cans were
x-rayed and revealed anomalies. Authorities also noticed the cans had been
Ultimately, the cans were found to contain a total of
10.52 kilograms of methamphetamine. Upon further investigation, it was
determined Aguilar had recruited Cano and Hernandez to smuggle the drugs into
the United States.
Aguilar and Cano have been in custody since their arrest
May 15, 2018, where they will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of
Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. Hernandez was permitted
to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons
facility to be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security
Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and
Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher dos Santos prosecuted