20-year prison sentence in meth, heroin case

A Mexican national who attempted to import nearly 150 kilos of meth into the country last September has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, records show.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Hermenegildo Espino-Trejo to a 240-month prison sentence for using an unaware truck driver to import 148 kilograms of methamphetamine into the United States, according to a news release from the Southern District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Espino-Trejo, a 41-year-old Mexican national, pleaded guilty in Dec. 2, 2020, for his role in his attempt to get the drugs across the border using another truck driver as the vessel for his meth, the release stated.

Espino-Trejo admitted he knew controlled substances were in the trailer and directed the driver to cross it into the United States where he planned further distribution.

At the sentencing hearing Aug. 25, a federal court heard from a government witness about the September 2020 attempt. Additionally, during the hearing, additional information including how Espino-Trejo recruited an unwitting truck driver to import a multi-million dollar load of narcotics into the United States.

“In handing down the sentence, Judge Alvarez enhanced Espino-Trejo’s sentence and found he was an organizer and supervisor of the drug conspiracy,” the release stated.

According to the criminal complaint, Espino-Trejo drove a tractor-trailer from Michoacan to Reynosa, Mexico. He gave the vehicle to another driver and instructed him to cross the border, then deliver it to a gas station in Pharr where Espino-Trejo would then retake possession.

However, at the Pharr point of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered 148 kilograms of meth and 1 kilogram of heroin concealed within the trailer. They ultimately identified Espino-Trejo as the one who arranged the transportation and took him into custody.

Espino-Trejo has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

According to a recent court filing, Espino-Trejo is expected to appeal the judgment and sentencing.