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Legal Permanent Resident Sentenced to Prison for Importing Meth

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 56-year-old legal permanent resident alien who resided in Matamoros has been ordered to prison following his conviction of methamphetamine trafficking, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. A federal jury convicted Martin Araiza-Jacobo on June 14, 2017, for conspiracy to possess and possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver as well as conspiracy to import and importation of methamphetamine following a two-day trial and approximately two hours of deliberation.
 
Today, U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera handed Araiza-Jacobo a 120-month sentence. Not a U.S. citizen, Araiza-Jacobo is expected to face loss of his legal status in the U.S. and deportation proceedings following his release from prison.
 
On Jan. 19, 2017, Araiza-Jacobo attempted to enter the United States through a pedestrian lane at the Gateway International Bridge, at which time he declared that he was bringing in sandwiches and two bags of candies from Mexico.
 
A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer inspected the bags and immediately noticed the candies inside the bag did not match with the candy images displayed on the bag. The contents also felt harder than expected. Authorities conducted an X-ray examination which revealed anomalies in both bags. Officers then opened the bags and discovered 83 packages containing 5.19 kilograms of methamphetamine.
 
Araiza-Jacobo stated he worked as a “cruzador” or a person who helps people cross groceries from the United States to Mexico. He claimed he had crossed into Mexico earlier that day to buy a sandwich for a lady and met an unknown man there who asked him to cross the bags of candy. The man was supposed to call Araiza-Jacobo once back in the U.S. and would give him the name and description of the person to whom he would deliver the candy. Araiza-Jacobo denied ever seeing or talking to the unknown man before.
 
However, the jury heard evidence that Araiza-Jacobo had been in contact with this man since Jan. 16, 2017. Further, Araiza-Jacobo had actually initiated the contact. Testimony revealed that Araiza-Jacobo had overheard part of a conversation in which a man was looking for someone willing to cross a piñata and a box of candy into the U.S. and ship it to Atlanta, Georgia. Araiza-Jacobo got the man’s number and called him. Less than an hour later, Araiza-Jacobo commented that the trip was set. 
 
He  will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Israel Cano III and Jason Corley are prosecuting the case.

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