Mexican man sentenced for having meth welded to tires

Published 10:31 am Thursday, April 22, 2021

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A 33 year-old Mexican citizen residing in Matamoros, Mexico, has been ordered to federal prison for possessing 43 kilograms of meth, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Leonardo Banuelos-Garcia pleaded guilty Sept. 27, 2019.

Today, U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez handed Banuelos-Garcia a 96-month sentence. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment. At the hearing, the court noted the quantity of narcotics involved in the crime.

On March 28, 2019, Banuelos-Garcia arrived at the Gateway Port of Entry in Brownsville driving a Jeep Liberty. Authorities noticed the sport utility vehicle was clean and had only one key and referred him to secondary inspection.

Law enforcement noticed Banuelos-Garcia was sweating profusely and appeared nervous. An X-ray examination indicated anomalies in some of the tires.

Banuelos-Garcia was ultimately found in possession of 18 packages of meth welded to three tires of his Jeep Liberty. He admitted he was going to be paid $1000 to transport the narcotics.

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

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Esquivel prosecuted the case.