CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas –The fifth man from Brooks County involved with a drug trafficking case has plead guilty Thursday in a Corpus Christi Federal Courtroom and will be sentenced next March.
Lamar Gonzalez, 38, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
With this plea, five Brooks County men have been convicted. Edward Mata, 27, Richard Scott Patton, 40, Luis Andres Longoria, 39, and Servando Guerra, 61, who pleaded guilty earlier this month.
These men, who are from Falfurrias, were part of an organized effort to transport marijuana from September 2008 to January 2011 through ranches around the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint using four-wheel-drive vehicles known as gators to avoid detection.
Agents determined that this organization was led by Jose Maria Carbajal Jr., 41, also of Falfurrias, who was prosecuted in a separate case and is pending sentencing.
During his plea today, prosecutors described how this organization used four-wheel-drive vehicles known as gators in their criminal enterprise. The gators would be loaded with marijuana at a point south of the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint.
The gators would be piloted through ranches to a point north of the checkpoint so the marijuana could be transported via ordinary means further into the United States for distribution. During the investigation, one of the marijuana-laden gator vehicles was apprehended and another was found abandoned on a ranch.
Authorities said the organization was led by Carbajal Jr. from his Brooks County ranch. Gonzalez both drove loads of marijuana through ranches and acted as a scout for the organization.
Gonzalez faces 20 years and life in federal prison and a $20 million fine when he’s sentenced on March 16th.