McALLEN — A McAllen man found in possession of heroin and “bulk” cash was sentenced Thursday on a drug conspiracy charge, records show.
U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez sentenced 21-year-old Gustavo Lozano to 87 months in federal prison during a sentencing hearing related to his March arrest after federal agents found him in possession of more than 2 kilograms of heroin, court records show.
Lozano, a U.S. citizen, was arrested along with another man, Gonzalo Colugna-Garcia, 35, of Mexico, after U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents observed the men in the middle of a drop off of the aforementioned narcotics.
On March 6 HSI agents observed as Colugna-Garcia, who was driving a pickup truck, and Lozano, his passenger, traveling north on Ware Road in McAllen.
The two made their way to a Denny’s Restaurant on 10th Street, the complaint filed against the two states.
Agents observed as Colugna-Garcia entered the restaurant while Lozano remained in the truck, only to watch as Colugna-Garcia return five minutes later and then depart the area while Lozano drove the vehicle out of the parking lot.
“As the (pickup truck) traveled southbound on 10th Street, the agent observed (Colugna-Garcia) driving a silver Ford F-150 pickup in close proximity to the (other truck driven by Lozano)…” the document shows.
The complaint goes on to state that Colugna-Garcia arrived at a residence on Vanessa Street, enter the garage, and then depart a short time later. Lozano, driving the other truck, arrived at the same residence.
Agents continued surveillance on both vehicles as they drove northbound on 10th Street.
“The Ford Flareside being driven by Lozano was seen entering the parking lot of the same Denny’s restaurant and the silver F-150 continued northbound,” the record shows.
Authorities conducted a traffic stop on Colugna-Garcia.
“During the stop, (Colugna-Garcia) denied having been at the residence on Vanessa Street. After (Colugna-Garcia) consented to a search of the vehicle, a narcotics detection (K-9) alerted to the vehicle during a non-intrusive search,” the complaint states.
While the traffic stop was being conducted, agents continued surveillance on Lozano, and noticed he never entered the restaurant.
“After about approximately 15 minutes, Lozano departed the parking lot and drove across the street to another parking lot. Again, Lozano did not exit the Ford Flareside,” the document states. After another 15 minutes, Lozano left that parking lot and drove to a convenience store where agents approached the man.
After speaking with agents, Lozano claimed the residence on Vanessa street was being rented by “other individuals,” but that the utilities and residence were under his name.
He told agents that while at the residence with Colugna-Garcia, he observed him drop off “plastic bags,” from the F-150, which Lozano suspected contained “something illegal,” the court record shows.
A subsequent search of the residence led to the discovery of more than 2 kilos of heroin, four bundles of bulk currency, and various materials “often used to wrap narcotics and currency.”
Lozano, who pleaded guilty to one count of a drug conspiracy, will also be required to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term, court notes show.
Colugna-Garcia, who also pleaded guilty to one federal drug charge, was sentenced to a 75-month prison sentence in August of this year, court records show.