LAREDO, Texas – A 32-year-old Mexican national has been
indicted for conspiracy and importation of 100 kilograms or more of marijuana,
announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Joel Eduardo Martinez-Garcia was originally charged by
criminal complaint. Today, the grand jury returned the two-count indictment. He
is expected to appear for his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana
Song Quiroga in the near future.
On or about July 23, 2019, Martinez-Garcia and others
known and unknown to the Grand Jury, conspired to import more than 100
kilograms of marijuana in metal pumpkins.
The complaint alleges that on or about July 23, 2019,
Martinez-Garcia arrived at the Columbia Solidarity Bridge in Laredo driving a
red Ford F-150. In the bed of the truck were numerous metal pumpkins, according
to the charges. Further inspection allegedly revealed anomalies within them.
Authorities soon found 10 bundles of marijuana, according
to the charges. They allegedly had a total combined weight of 109.42 kilograms.
If convicted, Martinez-Garcia faces up to 40 years in
prison and a maximum $5 million fine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security
Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam E.
Harper is prosecuting the case.