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Published on April 17, 2024
McAllen Couple Sentenced for Attempting to Transport Over 30 Kilos of CocaineSource: Google Street View

A McAllen, Texas pair caught with a hefty haul of cocaine have been handed their prison sentences after being nabbed in a meticulous law enforcement operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced. Jose Alfonso Trevino Jr., 46, and his better half, Rita Eva Moreno-Tinoco, 40, are facing a long time behind bars for attempting to distribute over 30 kilos of the narcotic.

U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani's report indicated that Trevino is to serve a 120-month sentence followed by five years of supervised release. His accomplice and spouse, Moreno-Tinoco, received a 37-month sentence and will also be subject to a three-year-term of supervised release. The duo had entered guilty pleas on March 23, 2023, as reported by the Justice Department.

During the sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane weighed the evidence, which included the discovery of four firearms—an AR-15 style rifle among them—at the narcotics cache. Furthermore, Trevino didn't do himself any favors as he reportedly threatened the arresting officers during transport.

The debacle began on January 19, 2021, when Trevino, piloting a pickup truck, failed to signal a turn, drawing the attention of law enforcement. A search of his vehicle led to the seizure of 10 kilograms of cocaine, stashed in reusable grocery bags on the back seat. Following his arrest, Trevino tried to smuggle in a call to Moreno-Tinoco, inadvertently tipping off cops when he told her to have their son "clean out the garage," as per his intercepted request. Officers then caught Moreno-Tinoco in the act as she loaded two plastic storage bins from their garage into her vehicle. Inside those bins: a whopping 31 kilograms of cocaine.

The couple will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, with the precise location to be decided in the upcoming days. Homeland Security Investigations led the bust, with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and the Hidalgo Police Department lending a hand. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Fry.