Harlingen man sentenced to 10 years in prison for cocaine smuggling via the USPS
POSTED: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 8:48am
UPDATED: Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 8:18am
BROWNSVILLE, TX (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — Juan Antonio Rendon-Diaz, 25, has been ordered to prison following his conviction for possession of one kilogram of cocaine with the intent to distribute, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Rendon-Diaz, a Mexican citizen illegally present in the U.S. residing in Harlingen, pleaded guilty Sept. 3, 2013
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen sentenced Rendon-Diaz to 120 months in federal prison. He is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release.
Rendon-Diaz, along with his brother Mario Rendon, 23, also an illegal alien residing in Harlingen, and Eric Cruz, 29, and Roland Cardwell Jr., 26, both of New York, were convicted for attempting to ship a kilogram of cocaine hidden in aluminum cans via the U.S. Postal Service.
On April 17, 2013, officers with the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit noticed suspicious behavior at a post office in Harlingen. After continued surveillance, Rendon-Diaz, Cruz and Cardwell returned to another post office in Harlingen in an attempt to ship the package.
An investigator approached Cruz as he was entering the post office with a package. The package was found to contain cocaine.
Rendon-Diaz had been observed purchasing packing supplies for the shipment. Investigators also discovered another kilogram of cocaine hidden in cans and canning equipment.
Rendon and Cardwell were both sentenced to 20 months imprisonment for their roles in the case, while Cruz received a sentence of 72 months.
Rendon-Diaz will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case, investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office and the Harlingen Police Department, is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Leonard.