Man sentenced to nearly 6 years for ‘priority load’ of cocaine

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A 50-year-old Mexican man has been sentenced to nearly six years in prison for attempting to smuggle nearly 200 pounds of cocaine to Atlanta.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane sentenced Faustino Perez Luna on Thursday after he pleaded guilty on May 23 to selling, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance, court records indicate.

Federal authorities arrested Perez on Nov. 13, 2022, after Border Patrol agents at the Falfurrias checkpoint discovered 195 pounds of cocaine hidden in a load of produce, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

“The drugs were the priority load of a known drug trafficking organization,” the news release stated.

Federal authorities estimate the drugs had an estimated value of $1.5 million.

“From March 2022 to Nov. 13, 2022, law enforcement arrested several others in connection with this drug trafficking organization,” the release stated. “It operated in the lower Rio Grande Valley transporting either narcotics, guns or money.”

That investigation led to the discovery of the “priority load,” which was in Perez’s tractor-trailer.

“In handing down the sentence, the court noted it was a serious offense and involved a lot of narcotics,” the release stated.