orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

November 20, 2012

Texas man pleads guilty in drug ring tied to Ga.


Associated Press

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A South Texas man has pleaded guilty to using his furniture store and trucking business in a drug smuggling ring with ties to Georgia.

Prosecutors in Corpus Christi on Monday announced Jose Francisco Serna of Mission pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine.

Serna was arrested in August after being a fugitive in Mexico for several years.

Prosecutors say Serna formerly owned a furniture store in McAllen and used the business to launder money. His trucking company hauled cocaine and cash between Mission and Atlanta. Investigators say cocaine was hidden in a truck axle.

No sentencing date was immediately set for Serna, who faces up to life in prison and must forfeit his ranch in Hidalgo (hih-DAHL'-goh) County.