A Texas woman was sentenced to spend 140 months in a federal correctional facility to be followed by five years of supervised release on Dec. 2 for conspiring to distribute marijuana and methamphetamine. The 25-year-old Hidalgo County resident learned of her fate during a sentencing hearing held at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The woman admitted her role in the conspiracy to federal prosecutors in February 2018. She could have been sentenced to life imprisonment if she had been found guilty after a trial.
The judge who handed down the sentence was told by U.S. attorneys that the woman managed or supervised the distribution of illegal narcotics that were smuggled into the United States from Mexico. She is said to have arranged for the distribution of approximately six kilograms of methamphetamine and about 42 kilograms of marijuana. Two men who prosecutors say the woman hired to transport the illegal drugs have also been charged.
The breakthrough in the case came in August 2017 when U.S. Border Patrol agents stopped a vehicle being used by the two men at a checkpoint in Kenedy County. The agents took the men into custody after allegedly discovering a shipment of drugs concealed behind the vehicle's dashboard. The U.S. Border Patrol was assisted in the ensuing investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The facts of this case reveal that U.S. attorneys may be willing to offer substantial sentence reductions to resolve narcotics cases quickly even when the evidence against the suspects involved is compelling. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may suggest pleading guilty to drug charges when the chances of being convicted after a trial seem strong, but they could suggest arguing the facts before a jury when their clients maintain their innocence or prosecutors have unconvincing cases and evidence that may be subject to interpretation.