LAREDO, Texas — A 28-year-old Mexican citizen has entered a guilty plea to conspiring to import more than 16 kilograms of cocaine into the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

On Sept. 3, Jose Antonio Garza Gutierrez attempted entry into the United States at the World Trade Bridge Port of Entry in Laredo driving a semi-truck and trailer. 

During inspection, authorities observed an unusual compartment hidden within the sleeper area of the truck. They conducted a search and found 14 tightly-wrapped bundles of cocaine weighing more than 16.94 kilograms.

The cocaine has an estimated street value of nearly $407,000.

U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia-Marmolejo will impose sentencing on March 18, 2020. At that time, Garza Gutierrez faces up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.

He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison is prosecuting the case.

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