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Final Defendant Sentenced in Meth Trafficking Conspiracy

McALLEN, Texas – A 27-year-old Mexican national who was illegally residing in Houston has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Oscar Diaz-Pineda pleaded guilty May 3, 2017. 
 
Today, Judge Alvarez ordered Diaz-Pineda to serve a 360-month sentence. His co-defendants – Mexican national Johnathan Ricardo Alvarez, 24, and El Salvadorian national Melvin Noel Vasquez, 33, who resided in Mission and Houston, respectively – were sentenced previously. Ricardo Alvarez received a 200-month sentence, while Vasquez was ordered to serve 147 months imprisonment.
 
At the previous hearing, the court heard that the methamphetamine was imported from Mexico in a liquid form and converted into crystalized methamphetamine at an apartment in Harris County for further distribution. Diaz-Pineda was determined to be the renter of the apartment under an alias name. In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted that Diaz maintained a ‘conversion lab’ at an apartment in Houston were liquid methamphetamine imported from Mexico was crystalized for further distribution within the area.
 
At the time of his plea, Ricardo Alvarez admitted to brokering a drug transaction with an undercover agent via telephone on Dec. 7, 2016. Two days later, Vasquez and Diaz-Pineda met with the undercover agent in Houston to deliver five kilograms of methamphetamine on behalf of Ricardo Alvarez. Agents arrested Vasquez and Diaz-Pineda that same day and seized the narcotics. Ricardo Alvarez was subsequently arrested on April 16, 2017, in South Texas. 
 
All three have been and will remain in custody and are expected to face deportation proceedings following their sentences.
 
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation along with task force officers from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, police departments in Humble and Missouri City and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorney Juan F. Alanis is prosecuting the case.

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