Nine classic cars seized from drug dealer

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email

DALLAS, TEXAS (KXAS) - From an Edsel Ranger to two Chevrolet Bel Airs, federal agents in Texas have seized nine vehicles dating to 1947 from a Mexican marijuana smuggler with an apparent passion for classic American cars.

Samuel Avelar-Landeros pleaded guilty in March in U.S. District Court in El Paso and agreed to pay $150,000 and forfeit his car collection.

These are the cars now in the government's possession:

1947 Dodge Custom Sedan
1949 Plymouth Deluxe
1950 Chevrolet Windsor
1952 Plymouth Cranbrook
Two 1956 Chevrolet Bel Airs
1959 Edsel Ranger
1977 Chevrolet Corvette
2008 Cadillac CTS HI Feature

Avelar, 40, a Mexican citizen, admitted he smuggled more than 100 kilograms of marijuana from Mexico to the United States from July 2010 until he was indicted in June 2013.

A jail report lists his hometown as Rogers, Arkansas. The court records do not give a dollar value for the vehicles and prosecutors do not explain what Avelar was doing with so many cars or whether he used them to smuggle drugs.

His attorney, Russell Aboud, of El Paso, did not return a call for comment. His assistant said he was out of town all week and unavailable.

Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, also did not immediately return a telephone call.

Avelar is set to be sentenced May 26. The sentencing was delayed after Avelar's attorney said he needed more time to obtain financial records from Mexican banks to argue for a lower sentence, according to court documents.

The government typically auctions vehicles and other property seized from convicted drug dealers but it is not clear when the vehicles might be sold.

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