Four Get Prison For Mailing Marijuana In Texas


Photo: U.S. Postal Inspection Service

‚ÄčA federal judge in McAllen, Texas has sentenced four illegal immigrants to prison for using the U.S. Postal Service to mail marijuana.

All pleaded guilty last summer to conspiracy to distribute marijuana through the mail. The four were convicted of mailing cannabis from various locations in the Rio Grande Valley since May 2008. They were each arrested in May 2009.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday announced the sentences for Leopoldo Perales-Rodriguez, 42; Juan Carlos Hernandez, 22; Victor Hugo Mares, 27; and Margarito Gallardo, 46. All four illegally lived in Mission, Texas, reports Lindsay Machak at The Monitor.

Chief U.S. District Judge Ricard Hinojosa on Monday sentenced Perales-Rodriguez to 42 months in prison. Prison terms of 30 months were given to Mares and Gallardo. Hernandez got 27 months.
Gallardo mailed parcels and cashed payments for the drugs in the form of money orders that he received through the mail, according to prosecutors. The other three repeatedly mailed packages out of the Valley for at least a year, prosecutors said.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service watched the group for about a year, and estimates they mailed more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana .
The packages were mailed from south Texas to Connecticut, New York, Florida and Puerto Rico, according to federal prosecutors.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, more marijuana is now being shipped through the mail than ever before. Postal officials say seizures of cannabis parcels have increased by more than 400 percent since 2007, reports Drew Sandholm of ABC News.
“There is no better way to ship drugs right now,” advertised San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne. “It’s going up all the time.”
The total pounds of marijuana seized by postal inspectors, as well as the number of parcels containing the drug, have increased every fiscal year since 2005.
Marijuana mail seizures increased 84 percent from 2007 to 2008, and 180 percent between 2008 and 2009. Inspectors uncovered 8,453 lbs. in 2007, 15,521 lbs. in 2008, and 43,403 lbs. of marijuana in 2009. In that same period, the total number of postal inspectors has remained relatively constant.