Reynosa man gets year and day for attempting to smuggle $200,000

McALLEN — A Reynosa man arrested in Hidalgo with more than $200,000 in cash was sentenced to just over a year in prison on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa sentenced Hector Miguel Gonzalez-Rangel to 12 months and a day in connection with a November 2017 arrest for attempting to cross into Mexico from Hidalgo, according to the criminal complaint filed against him.

On Nov. 8, 2017, a Hidalgo County Sheriff’s office deputy stopped Gonzalez-Rangel, 21, for a traffic violation as he made his way south toward the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.

“The HCSO deputy deployed his K-9 around the vehicle, at which time the K-9 alerted to the presence of a trained odor,” the complaint states.

After asking for consent to search the vehicle, a green in color Pontiac Grand Prix, the deputy searched the vehicle and was made aware of a concealed compartment underneath the rear passenger seat, the court record states.

“A search of that compartment revealed several plastic-wrapped packages containing bulk U.S. currency of different denominations, at which time the HCSO deputy informed Homeland Security Investigations (special agents) of the discovery,” the complaint states.

During his interview with federal agents, Gonzalez-Rangel said he met a man six to eight months prior who offered him $400 to smuggle U.S. currency from the United States to Mexico.

“Gonzalez further stated that he did not know how much currency he was going to be smuggling from the U.S. to Mexico, but that he suspected that it was over $10,000, as he knows currency exceeding this amount needs to be reported,” the court record states.

The man, who pleaded guilty to one count of bulk cash smuggling in February of this year, was said to be in possession of more than $200,000 when the deputy discovered the packages in the vehicle. He was to be paid $400 that day for his successful entry into Mexico.

Hinojosa found Gonzalez-Rangel to be a minor participant in the cash smuggling attempt and sentenced the Mexican national to a year and a day.