Mother-son duo sentenced in drug conspiracy case
McALLEN — A 28-year-old Mexican man and his mother each received more than 40-month prison sentences during a hearing Monday, court records show.
Adolfo Rivera-Hernandez and his mother, Alicia Hernandez-Arguello, 52, of Mexico, each stood before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane on Monday morning for their respective sentencing hearings related to a November 2018 arrest at a port of entry in Pharr, according to a criminal complaint filed against the them.
Crane sentenced Rivera-Hernandez and Hernandez-Arguello to 46 and 41 months in prison, respectively, court notes show.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found the cocaine during a search of the vehicle the pair were inside.
The two were subsequently charged with federal drug conspiracy charges after a search of the vehicle turned up more than 10 kilos of cocaine.
On Nov. 8, Rivera-Hernandez and his mother attempted to enter the U.S. through the Pharr-Reynosa International bridge and were referred for a secondary inspection.
“During the secondary inspection, a CBP K-9 narcotics detection team conducted a free air inspection which resulted in a positive alert for the odor of (a) controlled substance emanating from the vehicle,” the document stated.
This K-9 alert led CBP officers to conduct a more thorough search of the vehicle driven by the pair, and ultimately the aforementioned 10.84 kilos of cocaine, which were concealed in an “aftermarket” compartment located in the rocker panels of the vehicle.
Rivera-Hernandez and his mother were each interviewed by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents.
During his interview with HSI agents, Rivera-Hernandez stated he was hired by an unknown man in Mexico, who agreed to pay him $200 to transport what he believed was U.S. currency from the U.S. to Mexico.
“However, Rivera stated he suspected he was in reality transporting drugs into the United States,” the document stated. “Rivera also stated his mother, Hernandez, accompanied him to provide legitimacy for the trip, and she also knew of the illegal activity.”
Hernandez-Arguello told HSI agents she suspected that she and her son were transporting drugs into the U.S.
The sentencing hearing comes months after the two pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge, Hernandez-Arguello pleaded guilty in February, while her son, Rivera-Hernandez, pleaded guilty in early March, court records show.
The court did not set a supervised release term, as both defendants, who do not have legal authority to remain in the country, will likely be deported upon completion of their respective prison terms.