Brownsville woman sentenced in meth smuggling case

McALLEN — Not milk?

The second of two Brownsville residents was sentenced Monday in connection with federal drug charges for an attempt to smuggle methamphetamine through a port of entry inside a milk carton, court records show.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced Rosa Valenciana Soriano, 45, of Brownsville, to six years in federal prison for her role in an attempt to smuggle nearly 30 kilos of meth into the country last April, court records show.

Soriano’s punishment was handed down more than three months after Olga Lidia Torres-Soreano, 42, also of Brownsville, was sentenced to 14 years in prison in connection with the same case, according to court documents.

Both Torres and Soriano pleaded guilty last November to the federal drug charges against them, which included conspiracy to distribute, attempt/conspiracy to import/export a controlled substance, court records show.

The charges against the pair stem from their April 29, 2017, arrest at the Progreso-Nuevo Progreso International Bridge as they attempted to enter the country from Mexico, according to the criminal complaint filed against the two women.

The arrests came after a CBP officer encountered Torres, who was using the pedestrian lane to enter the United States, court records show.

Torres told the officer she had traveled from Brownsville to Mexico to visit a dentist and to buy candy and other household items, the complaint states.

Torres was referred for a secondary inspection after a CBP officer noticed she “was nervous and attempted to interfere with his inspection of her items,” the complaint states.

During the search of her items, the CBP officer discovered a plastic package within the milk carton — the contents of which later tested positive for methamphetamine, the complaint states. In total, officials said the meth weighed 26.78 kilos.

A further investigation revealed Torres had previously used a pickup truck to cross into the country — the same pickup truck that crossed into the country earlier that day with Soriano as the driver. The vehicle was later located by agents in a parking lot near the bridge.

Soriano initially told HSI agents that she traveled on the aforementioned date to Progreso, Tamaulipas, Mexico from Brownsville with Torres for the purpose of going to the dentist, but was unable to provide the name of the dentist, or where the office was located, the complaint states.

But Soriano then changed her story, and admitted she was lying about details during her visit to Mexico on that day.

“Soriano admitted she had not visited a dentist and had not disclosed she traveled to Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico, during her time in Mexico,” the complaint states.

As part of her sentence, Soriano, who does not have legal status in the country, will most likely be deported, court records show.

Torres began serving her 14-year sentence beginning Jan. 17, court records show.