McALLEN — When U.S. Border Patrol agents found a Starr County man inside a water-filled ditch, he said he was exercising. That man, who was eventually found in possession of more than 40 kilos of cocaine, was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison on federal drug charges.
Maximiano Garcia stood before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez for his sentencing hearing and received a 120-month prison sentence. He’ll also have an additional five years of supervised release upon completion of the prison term.
Border Patrol agents arrested the 47-year-old Garciasville native April 24, 2018, after a Border Patrol aerostat noticed possible drug activity near Garciasville.
Agents were sent to an area where the aerostat operator had last seen people carrying bundles into a ditch, the complaint against Garcia indicated.
Garcia, while standing with his feet submerged in the water, told agents he was exercising.
“Approximately 500 yards north of Garcia’s location, (Border Patrol agents) located and seized 37 bundles of suspected cocaine under a red horse trailer,” the complaint stated.
In all, the cocaine weighed a little more than 43 kilos.
During his interview with federal authorities, Garcia said an old friend in Tamaulipas, Mexico, who he would not identify, called him the previous day and offered $5,000 to help three backpackers cross into the U.S. via the Rio Grande.
As part of his deal with the old friend, he was to stash the backpacks on his property and then contact an unknown person in Donna, who would subsequently pick up the backpacks full of cocaine, records show.
Garcia pleaded guilty in August 2018 to a federal drug distribution charge. In exchange, government prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining drug conspiracy charge..