McALLEN — A 22-year-old woman who said she agreed to smuggle drugs for cartel associates has been sentenced to four years in federal prison.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane handed down Jacqueline Vazquez’s sentence earlier this week for her role in a smuggling attempt last August, in which she was found with cocaine and methamphetamine, court records show.
Records also show that Vazquez, who tried entering the U.S. on Aug. 29, 2017, at an unspecified port of entry, was arrested after a secondary search revealed she was transporting nearly 8 kilos of meth and about 3 kilos of cocaine.
The woman, who was the only person in the vehicle, was asked by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers what her business was in Mexico. She “had been visiting her father in Mexico,” she responded, according to the complaint.
A K-9 unit then searched the vehicle, which was sent for further inspection upon the canine being alerted to an odor of narcotics in the vehicle, records show. The drugs were found within a “compartment” in the vehicle during the secondary search.
Vazquez was taken into custody and interviewed.
“…Initially (Vazquez) stated she had made arrangements with an unknown male in Mexico to smuggle narcotics into the United States,” the record shows. “Vazquez stated the unknown male made arrangements to get the vehicle registered under her name, so she could begin crossing into the United States with it.”
She said the plan was set up for her to cross the vehicle into the U.S. unloaded, that is without narcotics, for about a month.
“Vazquez initially stated she was unaware the vehicle would be loaded on this occasion,” the record states.
She said she made arrangements to be paid $1,000 for every loaded vehicle she crossed. But during a second interview, Vazquez admitted she knew the vehicle would be loaded during this crossing into the U.S.
“Vazquez stated she received a phone call the day before and she was advised to drive into Mexico and park the vehicle at a hotel,” the complaint states. “Vazquez was instructed the vehicle would be returned to her on today’s date and she was to cross the vehicle into the United States.”
She told authorities, once in the U.S., she was to call a contact in Mexico and that she would be paid $1,000.
At her sentencing, the government agreed to dismiss three counts against her, two for conspiracy to distribute and one distribution charge. In exchange, she had pleaded guilty to count 2 of the indictment against her in late March of this year.
In addition to her 48-month prison sentence, Vazquez will serve three years of supervised release upon completion of that term.