A Texas Rancher Was Sentenced to 38 Years in Prison for Running a ‘smuggling Corridor’ for a Drug Cartel.

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Prosecutors sentenced a Texas rancher to 38 years in jail for collaborating with a Mexican drug cartel to smuggle illegal immigrants and marijuana into the United States.

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, Cuban citizen Gilberto Morales, 57, coordinated with a cartel based in Porvenir, Chihuahua to smuggle immigrants and more than a tonne of marijuana across the Rio Grande through his ranch in Fort Hancock, 40 miles east of El Paso.

“For more than a year, Gilberto Morales managed his own smuggling route via his ranch on the Rio Grande, collaborating with a Mexican drug trafficking group to smuggle bulk marijuana and undocumented immigrants,” US Attorney Ashley C. Hoff stated.

The Cuban national, who has been smuggling people since at least November 2019, has been ordered to surrender his 160-acre ranch, $157,000 in cash discovered secreted, as well as trucks and an armoury of firearms and ammunition. Additionally, he must pay a $520,000 punishment.

 

Texas Crime And Safety

 

In August 2020, federal officials raided Morales’ property and discovered four undocumented immigrants, about $157,000 in cash, 11 firearms, and over 1,800 rounds of ammunition, prosecutors stated in a news release.

Morales was convicted in July of a variety of offences, including conspiracy to transport aliens and possession of more than 1,000 kg of marijuana, according to prosecutors. According to the US Attorney’s office, he was sentenced March 9.

Authorities discovered four undocumented immigrants, about $157,000 in cash, 11 firearms, and more than 1,800 rounds of ammunition during a 2020 raid.

Morales was previously convicted of a variety of offences, including conspiracy to transport aliens and possession of more than 1,000 kg of marijuana.

Morales carried out his illicit activities from his Fort Hancock ranch, which is located 40 miles east of El Paso.

According to authorities, the rancher was convicted in 2009 of conspiracy with the purpose to distribute more than five kilogrammes of cocaine in New York. He received a 50-month sentence in federal prison.

 

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“Serving time in New York was insufficient for Mr. Morales,” said Jeffrey Boshek, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ Dallas Field Division.

“He chose to relocate to Texas in order to continue a life of crime and villainy,” Boskek continued in a statement. “He should have been aware that law enforcement in Texas is ruthless. Mr. Morales will now have additional time to consider his professional options. We appreciate the efforts of all law enforcement agencies participating in this investigation in ensuring the safety of the citizens of Texas.”

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