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Final Defendant Sentenced in Poly Drug Conspiracy

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 28-year-old Mission man has been ordered to federal prison for 10 years following his conviction in a cocaine and marijuana drug trafficking conspiracy, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. Bryan Mendoza, the last of five convicted in the conspiracy, pleaded guilty Dec. 28, 2016.

Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ordered he serve 120 months of imprisonment immediately followed by five years of supervised release.

The conspiracy ran from February 2009 to June 22, 2016, and included the seizure of more than 4,400 kilograms of marijuana and 23 kilograms of cocaine. Mendoza assisted the drug trafficking conspiracy by arranging the purchase of vehicles and hiring drivers to transport drugs from South Texas to other states.

Previously, co-defendants Cynthia Valencia, 25, a U.S. citizen who resided in Pharr and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico; and Mexican citizens Mario Alberto Medina-Mendoza, 30, Ismael Silva-Cortez, 37, and Alan Castillo, 38, had pleaded guilty to a related money laundering conspiracy. Castillo, who oversaw the movement of drug proceeds from other areas of the United States to South Texas, received a sentence of 70 months imprisonment. He primarily used the “old school” method of bulk cash smuggling in which he concealed large sums of cash in secret compartments within the vehicles he used to transport the drug proceeds.

Valencia, Silva-Cortez and Medina-Mendoza allowed their bank accounts to be used to funnel or launder approximately $51,710, $125,075 and $77,250 respectively, in drug proceeds. Silva-Cortez received a 37-month sentence, while Valencia and Medina-Mendoza were ordered to serve respective sentences of 18 and 33 months.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS – Criminal Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Customs and Border Protection conducted the joint investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Cusick is prosecuting the case.

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