LAREDO, TX (KVEO) - Israel Garza, 40, of Mission, has been ordered to federal prison for 240 months following his conviction for possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Garza pleaded guilty Dec. 10, 2013, admitting he possessed with the intent to distribute 14 kilograms of cocaine.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia-Marmolejo handed Garza the 20-year sentence which will be immediately followed by 10 years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, Judge Marmolejo noted Garza is a career drug offender and his actions resulted in a significant punishment. At sentencing, Garza addressed the court as well as a group of visiting school children, whom he told to live a clean and positive life and not make the mistakes he did or else they will spend their lives in prison.
On Sept. 18, 2013, Border Patrol (BP) agents arrested Garza at the checkpoint approximately one mile south of Hebbronville. At that time, a canine dog alerted to the presence of narcotics in an ice cooler located in the cab of the freightliner tractor-trailer he was driving. The cooler appeared to be bulging abnormally. Upon further inspection, agents discovered 12 vacuumed-sealed packages inside, containing approximately 14 kilograms of cocaine, valued at $976,000.
Garza admitted he was delivering drugs for the Gulf Cartel.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sanjeev Bhasker prosecuted this case.