McALLEN, Texas – A 53-year-old U.S. citizen living in Tamaulipas, Mexico, was ordered to federal prison for importing meth into the United States, Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced Friday in a release.
On Dec. 11, 2020, Fernando Ramirez arrived at the Hidalgo port of entry and attempted to enter the United States from Mexico, according to the release. Ramirez told border authorities he was on his way to work from his home in Tamaulipas. During an inspection of his vehicle, a service K-9 alerted authorities to the gasoline tank. When authorities took a closer look at the gas tank, they located 44 packages of meth weighing approximately 23 kilograms (around 51 pounds).
According to the release, the drugs had an estimated street value of $126,500.
During the course of the investigation, Ramirez eventually told authorities he knew the vehicle he was driving contained drugs and that he expected to be paid $500 to smuggle them across the border and into the United States.
Ramirez pleaded guilty in late February.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane ordered Ramirez to serve a 70-month sentence to be immediately followed by four years of supervised release, according to the release. During the hearing, Ramirez said he had crossed loaded vehicles into the United States several times in the past.
Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Colton Turner prosecuted the case.