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Former Texas Contractor Used Facebook To Advertise Smuggling Drugs In Government Vehicle

August 2, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Former Texas Contractor Used Facebook To Advertise Smuggling Drugs In Government Vehicle

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An ex-federal contractor in South Texas has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for using a government truck to smuggle drugs across the border.

Mario Saenz of McAllen was sentenced Tuesday. Saenz in January pleaded guilty to attempting to possess with intent to distribute cocaine using a U.S. Department of Agriculture vehicle.

Investigators in McAllen say Saenz used Facebook to advertise that he had access to a government vehicle and could haul drugs from Mexico.

Saenz last October was seen driving a USDA pickup truck through an opening in a border fence. Investigators say Saenz grabbed a bag from some brush near the Rio Grande, then drove to a parking lot in McAllen before being arrested.

Officers found cocaine in the bag.

News Release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas

Mario Guadalupe Saenz, 28, of McAllen, has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of attempting to possess with intent to distribute approximately nine kilograms of cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Saenz pleaded guilty Jan. 28, 2015.

Today, U.S. District Judge Randy Crane, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Saenz a 135-month sentence to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. The sentence was enhanced because the defendant possessed a dangerous weapon in the course of committing the offense and because he used Facebook to advertise he could use a vehicle with U.S. government license plates to bring drugs north of the border fence.

Learn What To Do If Your Approched By Federal Agents

On Oct. 9, 2014, Saenz was observed driving a white Dodge Ram registered to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). He drove through an opening in the border fence and retrieved a bag from the brush near the Rio Grande River in Hidalgo County. He then used the government vehicle to transport the bag to a business parking lot in McAllen where Saenz bragged to an undercover officer that he had waived at the Border Patrol agents during the transport.

Saenz was subsequently arrested as investigators discovered the bag contained approximately 9.39 kilograms of a suspected controlled substance, 1.1 kilograms of which tested positive for the properties of cocaine.

Saenz will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, USDA-Office of Inspector General and the McAllen Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Rees prosecuted the case.

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