McALLEN, Texas – A 29-year-old Edinburg resident citizen has been ordered to prison for importing more than $827,000 in heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
Amanda Zaragoza pleaded guilty July 29, 2021.
Today, Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Zaragoza to serve 65 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Zaragoza had been previously involved in successful drug trafficking incidents, had extensive contacts within the drug trafficking organization and significant mental health and substance abuse issues. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that she played a significant part in the movement of controlled substances into the United States from Mexico.
On May 17, 2021, Zaragoza attempted to pass through the port of entry located in Pharr while driving a grey Volkswagen sedan. After she made a negative declaration, a K-9 alerted authorities to narcotics in the tires of the vehicle. Inside, an X-ray inspection revealed a total of 24.49 kilograms of heroin.
The drugs have an estimated street value of $827,259.
Zaragoza 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 with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eliza Carmen Rodriguez prosecuted the case.