A 53-year-old Mexican man, Juan Mendoza, has been sentenced to 62 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to importing cocaine, as announced by U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Mendoza admitted his guilt on April 11, 2023, in connection to an incident on Nov. 6, 2022, at the Donna Port of Entry. At that time, he falsely claimed to have no illegal drugs in his vehicle during a routine checkpoint inspection. However, authorities referred him to secondary inspection, where they discovered two car batteries in the back seat.
Upon examination, law enforcement found eight packages of a white powdery substance within the batteries. The substance was later identified as cocaine, with an approximate weight of eight kilograms and an estimated street value of $100,000.
During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez highlighted Mendoza's key role in smuggling narcotics into the United States for further distribution. The court also heard additional evidence suggesting that Mendoza had engaged in similar illegal activities on other occasions.
In addition to the prison sentence, Mendoza faces the loss of his legal status and possible removal proceedings. He will remain in custody until his transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, the location of which is yet to be determined.
The investigation leading to Mendoza's conviction was conducted by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations.