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Mexican man sentenced for drug trafficking as senator targets southern border

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(The Center Square) – A federal judge sentenced a man from Mexico to five years in federal prison for trafficking marijuana into the United States.

Carlos Arturo Quintana, 41, of Namiquipa, Chihuahua, Mexico, received the sentence this week, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico.

The man was extradited to the United States from Mexico in August 2022.

In March 2011, a confidential informant ordered 600 kilograms of marijuana from Elmy Hermosillo Trujillo, a member of the Juarez Cartel, one of Mexico’s biggest criminal groups.

The confidential informant met with Quintana, who appeared to be wearing a police uniform and driving a marked police vehicle. Along with other people in police uniforms, Quintana delivered 600 kilograms of marijuana by a dump truck.

The confidential informant put a GPS tracking device in with the marijuana.

A week later, the tracker revealed that the marijuana was at a storage facility in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Law enforcement raided the facility, which caused arrests, one death, plus confiscations of drugs, guns, and communications devices.

In January 2024, Quintana pled guilty to conspiracy to “distribute 100 kilograms and more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of marijuana,” the release said. The man knew that these controlled substances would be illegally smuggled into the United States.

Quintana received a 60-month prison sentence, four years of supervised release, and a $10,000 fine. No parole exists in the federal system.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated the case with help from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Las Cruces-Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency.

The news comes as U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, is calling for the country to do more to stop the flow of illegal drugs, particularly fentanyl, across the southern border.

He is fighting to pass bills like the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, which he hopes would crack down on international criminal organizations, plus the Stop Fentanyl at the Border Act; the bill would let U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) hire more Officers and Border Patrol Agents to prevent drug smuggling.

“I am also working to pass bipartisan legislation in Congress to cut off the illicit supply of fentanyl that is flooding into our communities from China and Mexico. In February, the Senate passed a major National Security Supplemental that will strengthen border security and help stop the flow of fentanyl before it hits our southern border,” Heinrich said in a press release from his office. “That bill included the FEND Off Fentanyl Act, a piece of bipartisan legislation that I cosponsored to confront the money laundering and seize the financial resources of the overseas criminal enterprises that are flooding our communities with illicit fentanyl.”

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