Alamo duo sentenced in drug conspiracy case

DOCS: Pair admitted to prior smuggling trips

Two of three defendants allegedly involved in a drug conspiracy faced their punishments this week.

A federal judge Tuesday sentenced Giovana, 22, and Rodolfo Martinez, 19, to 87 and 37 months respectively for their roles in a drug conspiracy, court records show.

The two Alamo residents were arrested at the Progreso port of entry Oct. 14, 2020, after attempting to enter the country with 13 kilograms of meth inside a vehicle.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection referred the pair to secondary inspection after they said they didn’t have any prohibited items. But an X-Ray of the pair’s vehicle revealed anomalies in the rear quarter panel area of the vehicle.

“A CBP K-9 narcotics detection team conducted a free air inspection on the vehicle which resulted in a positive alert for the odor of a controlled substance(s) emanating from the vehicle,” the criminal complaint filed against the two stated.

A subsequent physical search of the vehicle led to the discovery of 15 cellophane and vacuum sealed packages of meth, weighing approximately 12.40 kilograms, concealed within the rear quarter panels of the vehicle, the document stated.

The two were interviewed by federal agents shortly after the discovery.

“The HSI SA and a CBPO interviewed Giovana and Rodolfo, who both, after providing several inconsistent and admittedly false statements, stated they were hired by an unknown person in Mexico and to be paid to transport what they suspected were drugs from Mexico into the United States,” the document stated.

Both said they made prior trips to and from Mexico and were aware they were collaborating with drug smuggling organizations.

Giovana Martinez, 22, will also be required to serve four years of supervised release upon completion of her more than 7-year prison term. Rodolfo Martinez, 19, will have to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of this prison term, records show.

A third person, Norma Jassmin Hernandez, 33, of Peñitas, was indicted in December 2020 for her role in the duo’s drug smuggling trips. Her federal jury trial is currently set for early May.

A superseding indictment unsealed Dec. 15, 2020, indicated that in August 2020, Hernandez allegedly conspired with Giovana and Rodolfo Martinez to smuggle roughly five kilos of cocaine into the country from Mexico.

The government alleges the trio did that again on two other instances in October and November.


lzazueta@themonitor.com