Houston/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on June 19, 2024
Matamoros Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Smuggling 23 Pounds of Cocaine Into BrownsvilleSource: Google Street View

A U.S. citizen has been hit with a decade in federal prison after getting caught trying to smuggle a hefty load of cocaine into the country, as per an announcement from U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani's office. Gilberto Lugo, the 36-year-old from Matamoros, Mexico, was nailed at a port of entry in Brownsville, Texas, last year and later pleaded guilty to the charges on February 15, 2023, a move that's led him straight to a 120-month sentence that U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera laid down.

Documents from the court reveal Lugo's July 21, 2022, brush with the law when he raised suspicions driving solo through the Veterans Port of Entry; law enforcement noted his jittery demeanor and reluctance to lock eyes with them, indicators that something might be amiss, and sure enough, the man was harboring 23 pounds of cocaine cleverly stashed behind his vehicle’s door panels and not just there, but authorities found out this wasn't his first rodeo since he had been crossing POE bridges with that vehicle since at least January 2022.

What's more, a deep dive into Lugo's digital footprints unearthed a treasure trove of incriminating evidence, with his cellphone coughing up images that showed other vehicles at the POE, stacks of cash, and baggies containing a powdery substance, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The images were believed to cement the fact that he was no stranger to the drug trafficking game.

Lugo is now cooling his heels in lockup as he awaits his transfer to an undetermined federal prison, where he'll begin serving his time, after which a five-year supervised release will follow as Judge Olvera punctuated the sentence by referencing Lugo's past criminal act, a felony assault on a family household member.