A Mexican national received more than 16 years in federal prison for his role in masterminding the smuggling of more than 26 kilograms of methamphetamine from northern Mexico into the United States through a Texas port of entry, according to unsealed court documents.
Guillermo Cardenas-Sanchez, also known under the alias of Gilberto Menera-Sanchez, was sentenced to serve 200 months by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez late last week related to federal drug smuggling charges.
In November 2017, Cardenas-Sanchez pleaded guilty to one count of importation of a controlled substance. As part of a plea deal, government prosecutors dismissed a second drug conspiracy charge against Cardenas-Sanchez, according to the Monitor.
A recently unsealed criminal complaint dated May 23, 2017, obtained by the Monitor indicated that federal authorities accused the Mexican national of “knowingly and unlawfully” conspiring the transport of 26.2 kilograms (or nearly 58 pounds) of methamphetamine into the U.S. through a port of entry (POE) in Pharr, Texas, on July 25, 2015.
According to the complaint, Cardenas-Sanchez was aided in this criminal activity by two co-conspirators whose identities were withheld. Described as defendants 1 and 2, the suspects admitted to their respective roles and participation in the drug smuggling attempt. The two defendants also identified Cardenas-Sanchez as the “facilitator” who instructed the pair to move the narcotics from Reynosa, Mexico, through Pharr. Reportedly, Houston was the intended destination for the illegal substance.
“On or about July 25, 2015, Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents from McAllen, Texas (HSI McAllen SAs) interviewed defendant 1 and were able to identify a second co-conspirator (herein referred to as defendant 2) who assisted defendant 1 with the narcotics smuggling attempt via the Pharr POE,” stated the complaint.
Then, on February 22, 2017, federal agents interviewed Cardenas-Sanchez in Houston. This was 19 months after the two defendants named Cardenas-Sanchez as the ring leader. At this time, Cardenas-Sanchez “admitted he orchestrated the narcotics smuggling attempt” that led to the arrests of the two defendants at the Pharr POE, according to the criminal complaint.
The court documents also stated that Homeland Security Investigations special agents were “able to corroborate phone communications between Cardenas-Sanchez” and the two defendants “during the narcotics smuggling activities that took place on or about July 25, 2015.”
Cardenas-Sanchez also confessed he used a cell phone to provide “instructions” to the two defendants in the drug smuggling attempt, according to the complaint.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in the McAllen division. According to the Monitor, Cardenas-Sanchez does not have legal status to remain in the U.S. and will most likely be deported upon the completion of his prison sentence.