LAREDO, Texas – A 40-year-old Laredoan faces up to life
in prison for importing a large amount of cocaine via the Gateway to the
Americas International Bridge, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Yuriria Verastegui attempted to enter the United States
July 24 driving a Ford SUV. Authorities noticed tampering with its interior
quarter panels, lifted a tray to access them and found 16 bundles of cocaine.
The drugs weighed a total of approximately 16 kilograms
with a value of $512,000.
Verastegui pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with
the intent to distribute cocaine, admitting she knew there were narcotics in
her vehicle and expected to be paid $9,600 for transporting them.
U.S. District Court Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo will
impose sentencing Feb. 24, 2020. At that time, Verastegui faces a minimum of 10
years and up to life imprisonment as well as a possible $10 million maximum
fine. She has been in custody since her arrest where she will remain pending
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security
Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from Customs and
Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony J. Evans is prosecuting the