LAREDO, Texas – A 30-year-old woman from Bradenton, Florida, has been ordered to federal prison following her conviction of importing 15.62 kilograms of crystal meth, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
A Laredo jury deliberated for five hours following a two-day trial before convicting Mayra Aguirre on May 1, 2018.
Today, U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana handed Aguirre a 24-month sentence to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted Aguirre had accepted responsibility and demonstrated sincere remorse for her actions.
On Oct. 9, 2017, Aguirre attempted to enter the United States via the Lincoln-Juarez Bridge driving her recently-purchased silver 2012 Dodge Durango. Her sister and young toddler were with her. Officers became suspicious after she gave inconsistent replies to standard questions and could not provide proof of vehicle registration.
She was referred to secondary inspection, at which time officers detected a powerful chemical odor emanating from the interior of the vehicle. The odor did not dissipate and initially made some officers nauseous. An inspection revealed obvious signs of mechanical tampering with the discovery of non-factory bolts, glue and unusual welding under the carpeting. A subsequent search revealed 15.62 kilograms of meth stored within 29 plastic bags hidden inside a false “trap door” panel manually attached to the inside of vehicle.
At trial, the jury also heard that the drugs have an estimated value of up to $500,000 in Florida.
The defense attempted to convince the jury the meth was placed in Aguirre’s vehicle by unknown persons when it was stolen in Mexico a month prior to her arrest. They did not believe her claims and found her guilty as charged.
Aguirre was ordered into custody where she will remain 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 and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Francisco J. Rodriguez and former AUSAs Christopher Dos Santos and Michael Eaton prosecuted the case.