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An Edinburg man has been sentenced to prison following his conviction for possession with intent to distribute over 11 pounds of cocaine while taking advantage of his position at UPS, according to a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

Orlando Candelario Almanza, 50, pleaded guilty on Oct. 23, 2023, and was sentenced last Wednesday to over six years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

The court heard evidence about Almanza’s high-ranking position at UPS where he was a driver and responsible for delivering packages directly to UPS carrier airplanes for outbound delivery, according to the release.

“In handing down the sentence, the court noted Almanza played a key role in the drug trafficking organization,” the release said.

Almanza utilized his experience of over 20 years at UPS in order to circumvent security protocols and ship packages containing cocaine on behalf of drug traffickers.

In October 2022, as the investigation was several months in, authorities observed Almanza receive a package containing 22 pounds of cocaine destined for Tennessee from drug traffickers while on shift.

According to the release, Almanza would be paid between $300-$500 per package shipped.

“Almanza chose to break not only the trust of his company but that of the community,” Alamdar S. Hamdani, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, said in the release. “These men chose to help drug traffickers, in the end causing them to trade their brown uniforms for orange jumpsuits.”

Once law enforcement seized several packages of cocaine from across the United States, they were traced back to the McAllen UPS facility and to Almanza and another employee, 51-year-old Fidencio Salinas Jr.

Salinas, who was employed with UPS for over seven years, previously received a sentence of over two years in federal prison.

Almanza was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.