MCALLEN–A federal jury took three hours to convict a Rio Grande Valley man Friday for possession with the intent to distribute a load of marijuana from a case that happened nearly 8 years ago.
Hugo Elia Sarabia Jr., 34, of Palmview was indicted in 2004 along with his brother and his father and a man from Mexico nearly 500 kilograms of marijuana.
Sarabia was accused of working with Leonel Sarabia, 29, Hugo Sarabia Sr., 46, who are both from Palmview, and Honecimo Rodriguez, 49, of Mexico and two others in a major drug trafficking case.
Rodriguez and Leonel Sarabia plead guilty to distributing more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and are awaiting sentencing.
There was a hung jury for Hugo Sarabia Jr. and Sr. more than three years ago for the case involving the 458 kilos of marijuana. The older Sarabia was convicted for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than a 1,000 kilos of marijuana.
Sarabia Sr. decided to plead guilty on the case and is awaiting sentencing.
During trial, Department of Safety officers reported they had Sarabia Jr. and others under surveillance in Palmview in October 2001.
They testified they observed Sarabia Jr. loading the marijuana into a recreational vehicle and driving it to a dropoff location at a parking lot.
Later, they saw another man pickup the RV and start driving the vehicle loaded with drugs. They pulled him over and found the marijuana inside of it.
Sarabia Jr. was taken into custody after the verdict was read. He will be sentenced in June.