LAREDO, Texas – Two Mexican nationals have been ordered to federal prison for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute approximately 14 kilograms of meth, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Julio Cesar Salinas-Saucedo, 40, and his nephew Juan Manuel Lira-Salinas, 32, pleaded guilty Feb. 4.
Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered Lira-Salinas to serve 168 months in federal prison for being a leader-organizer. Salinas-Saucedo received a 60-month sentence for his role in the scheme. Not U.S. citizens, both are expected to face removal proceedings following their terms of imprisonment.
In handing down the sentence, the court noted there was no thought to the people of the United States who would have been harmed by these drugs had their conspiracy been successful. The court also noted Lira-Salinas was the primary leader and organizer of the conspiracy.
On July 28 and July 30, 2017, authorities discovered two suspicious bags among the luggage of Turimex travel buses attempting to travel through the North Laredo Border Patrol checkpoint. The bags contained a total of eight bundles of meth.
The buses had departed the Laredo Turimex station and were bound for Houston.
The investigation led to Salinas-Saucedo and Lira-Salinas as the coordinators of the smuggling events. Both men provided drug-laden bags to couriers who were later arrested and convicted for trafficking meth.
They have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation jointly with assistance of Border Patrol and the Laredo Police Department’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Rodriguez is prosecuting the case.