Facebook postings of drug and cartel ties lands Pharr man in prison
MCALLEN, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — A Pharr man has been sentenced to prison for his involvement in distributing a controlled substance.
Erick Ochoa Rodriguez, 19, of Pharr was sentenced to prison for 10 years after being convicted for conspiring to possess and possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute the controlled substance.
Rodriguez was convicted on the charges in February 2013 and prosecutors presented additional evidence, at a sentencing hearing, showing Rodriguez being a member of a cartel gang and trafficking drugs and weapons. Prosecutors introduced evidence of Facebook postings about him bragging about trafficking cocaine, selling firearms, recruiting drug dealers and kidnapping rival drug dealers.
Ochoa-Rodriguez was charged in an indictment returned on Nov. 13, 2012. During trial, the government presented photos, maps and witness testimony illustrating his attempt to receive 175 kilograms of marijuana from unknown individuals carrying the drugs from the border.
On Oct. 29, 2012, Border Patrol agents encountered Ochoa-Rodriguez as he drove his vehicle to a planned rendezvous near a levee within two miles of the border with seven individuals who had carried marijuana bundles from the Rio Grande River. He immediately fled, first in his vehicle and then on foot into a densely forested area. Agents ultimately located him as he was lying in the fetal position within dense overgrowth through the use of a canine unit, trackers and aircraft.