Rio Grande City man sentenced for smuggling over 6,000 lbs. of marijuana

Rio Grande City man sentenced for smuggling over 6,000 lbs. of marijuana

POSTED: Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 10:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 10:09pm

Rodolfo Reyna Sanchez, 45, of Rio Grande City, has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of possession with the intent to distribute 2,845.5 kilograms of marijuana, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña sentenced Sanchez to a term 80 months imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

On July 30, 2012, Border Patrol agents were patrolling the Mines Road area northwest of Laredo just south of the Briscoe Ranch and noticed a tractor-trailer traveling north, which agents determined as registered to Sanchez. The vehicle was traveling on a route commonly used to avoid U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints and contained caliche, a sedimentary rock with little value in the back.

When agents approached, they immediately noticed a strong smell of marijuana. Sanchez provided consent to search his vehicle, at which time agents discovered 404 bundles of marijuana under the thin layer of dirt and rock in the trailer. The marijuana weighed 2,845.5 kilograms.

Sanchez admitted someone had paid for the truck and instructed him to register it in his name. He was en route to Houston where he was to receive $50,000 for transporting the marijuana. He admitted he knew the truck contained marijuana.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the Homeland Security Investigations and Border Patrol. Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth Rabe is prosecuting the case.

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