LAREDO, Texas – Two men have been sentenced to federal prison for importing over 900 pounds of meth, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
A federal jury convicted Noe De Jesus Martinez-Montelongo, 36, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, and Fidel Rodriguez-Saldana, 35, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Aug. 23, 2023 following a three-day trial.
U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana has now imposed a 235-month term of imprisonment for Martinez-Montelongo and Rodriguez-Saldana received 235 months in prison as well. Both must also serve five years of supervised release following their terms of imprisonment. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the large amount of liquid narcotics that they were attempting to bring into the United States.
On Nov. 28, 2022, Martinez-Montelongo and Rodriguez-Saldana attempted to enter the United States at the Columbia Solidarity port of entry in Laredo, driving a tractor-trailer without a load. Authorities referred them to secondary inspection where a K-9 alerted to the tractor.
Law enforcement conducted a scope and discovered a secret compartment in each diesel tank of the tractor. They were then able to extract some of the liquid which tested positive for meth.
Authorities ultimately seized a total of 413 kilograms (910 pounds) of liquid meth which filled 22 buckets. The estimated wholesale value is approximately $1 million.
At trial, Martinez-Montelongo and Rodriguez-Saldana claimed no knowledge of the liquid. They said they were simply supposed to pick up a legitimate load in Laredo. The jury did not believe their defense and found them guilty as charged.
Both have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Makens and Brandon Bowling prosecuted the case.