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Latino Daily News

Thursday September 13, 2012

Latino Blotter:  El Paso Man Sentenced 20-Yrs for Using Unsuspecting Drivers to Smuggle Pot into MX

Latino Blotter:  El Paso Man Sentenced 20-Yrs for Using Unsuspecting Drivers to Smuggle Pot into MX

Photo: Marijuana Smuggler Sentenced

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In El Paso, 38-year-old Jesus Chavez of El Paso was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to take advantage of unsuspecting drivers to smuggle an estimated 3,000 kilograms of marijuana from Juarez, Mexico into El Paso.

In addition to the prison term, Chavez was ordered to pay $141,629 restitution to his victims and be placed under supervised release for a period of 10 years after completing his prison term.

Chavez pleaded guilty and admitted that from March 2010 through June 2011, he implemented a scheme to use unsuspecting individuals and their vehicles, who had access to the dedicated commuter lane at the Stanton Bridge Port of Entry, to import marijuana into the United States.

As part of the scheme, members of this trafficking organization identified vehicles in Ciudad Juarez with access to the dedicated commuter lane, obtained copies of keys to those vehicles and then placed duffel bags loaded with marijuana inside the trunks of the vehicles. After the unsuspecting individual drove the vehicle into the United States and parked, members of this organization would retrieve the marijuana using the vehicle keys in their possession.

Chavez’ co-defendant, 30-year-old Carlos Gomez, whom authorities believe is in Mexico, remains a fugitive in this case.