August 9, 2022

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Foreign national gets nearly 20 years for smuggling over $1M in meth

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LAREDO, Texas – A 33-year-old Mexican citizen has been ordered to prison for conspiracy to import and importation of meth, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

A federal jury convicted Juan Victor Larraga-Solano Aug. 25, 2021, following a two-day trial.

Today, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo ordered that he serve a total of 235 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the seriousness of drug smuggling and the significant quantity of meth Larraga-Solano attempted to bring into the United States. Judge Marmolejo also pointed out that Larraga-Solano’s testimony at trial did not make any sense and that he had not acknowledged any responsibility for his actions.

Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his sentence.

On March 8, 2020, Larraga-Solano attempted to enter the United States through the Lincoln-Juarez International Bridge in Laredo. He claimed he was importing glass beer bottles, juice boxes and meat contained in coolers from Mexico.

Law enforcement inspected the items and noticed that, when shaken, the juice boxes sounded as if they contained rocks. Further, the alleged beer did not have any bubbles. A follow up X-ray examination also revealed anomalies in the walls of the coolers. Authorities conducted a thorough inspection and found 56 packages of meth and 12 beer bottles containing liquid meth.

Overall, authorities seized a total of 44.56 kilograms of meth from Larraga-Solano.

During trral, the jury heard the total estimated street value was in excess of $1.1 million.

Testimony at trial revealed that Mexican cartels have increased the price of meth to raise demand for less expensive drugs like cocaine and marijuana.

Larraga-Solano has 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 with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection, Drug Enforcement Administration and Border Patrol.  Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Brandon S. Bowling and former AUSA Adam E. Harper prosecuted the case.

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