The Police NewsLaredo, Texas
Laredo woman admits role in smuggling cocaine
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 that hearing.
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 cases.