Rio Grande City Man Heads to Prison for Trafficking More Than 1,000 Kilos of Marijuana
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 25, 2013|
MCALLEN, TX—Eduardo Ramirez, 59, of Rio Grande City, has been handed a significant sentence following his convictions in Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation White Line, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Ramirez was convicted by a McAllen Jury on March 8, 2013, following a four-day trial.
Ramirez and others were indicted for conspiracy to possess and possession with the intent to distribute in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
“Those that transport large quantities of drugs through the Southern District of Texas on behalf of major drug cartels will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Magidson. “This case is another example of our cooperation with various law enforcement agencies in that effort.”
Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez, who presided over the trial, handed Ramirez a sentence of 235 months in federal prison, to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted that the defendant was a leader in the criminal enterprise to transport the marijuana.
Evidence at trial revealed Ramirez and others agreed to transport approximately 1,567 kilograms of marijuana in a tractor-trailer to other narcotics traffickers based in Houston in September 2011. An aftermarket compartment was built into a trailer that was subsequently used to transport the marijuana, as well as approximately 5,000 kilograms of Mexican charcoal. Documents, recorded conversations, and testimony showed Ramirez had provided the cover load, which was to be used to mask the odor of marijuana and dissuade law enforcement officers from searching the trailer. Ramirez was unaware that the driver of the tractor-trailer was an undercover police officer.
On September 25, 2011, agents conducted a controlled delivery of the marijuana. Ramirez and others traveled to Houston in anticipation of the arrival of the marijuana load. Agents off-loaded the marijuana and placed it in a van, which was picked up September 27, 2011, by a member of the conspiracy. Officers with the Houston Police Department (HPD) later stopped the van for a traffic violation, discovered the marijuana, and arrested the driver. Later that day, Ramirez paid approximately $30,000 for the transportation of the marijuana.
Ramirez has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Vicente Montes and Eduardo Humberto Ramirez, the son of Eduardo Ramirez, are currently fugitives and warrants remain outstanding for their arrest. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at 800-973-2867. They are presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
The OCDETF investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted in McAllen and Houston by Homeland Security Investigations, Pharr Police Department, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, HPD, Harris County Sheriff’s Department, and the FBI.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jesse Salazar and Juan Alanis are prosecuting the case.