MCALLEN–A Rio Grande Valley man received a long prison sentence Wednesday after he was convicted in a drug trafficking case that stemmed over three yeas.
Raul Cruz of Edinburg was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and money laundering conspiracy, federal prosecutors said. Cruz, 52, previously entered a guilty plea on July 31, 2009.
U.S. District Judge Randy Crane handed Cruz respective 240-month sentences on each of the drug and money laundering convictions and will serve a 10-year-term of supervised release when he is released from federal prison.
Court records show Cruz and others operated a drug and money laundering ring from 2006 to 2008 responsible for distributing thousands of kilograms of cocaine, thousands of pounds of marijuana, hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine, as well as laundering millions of dollars in drug proceeds.
Cruz orchestrated the transportation of the narcotics from the Rio Grande Valley area to Atlanta, Chicago, and elsewhere via semi tractor-trailers.
The currency proceeds which returned from these locations were then used to purchase various properties and assets, including the San Carlos Mud Pit.
During the investigation, agents seized several loads of narcotics and currency, including 408 kilograms of cocaine and 27 kilograms of methamphetamine near Robstown on March 12, 2007; 1,004 kilograms of cocaine near Edinburg on July 18, 2007; 330 kilograms of cocaine near Atlanta on Aug.31, 2007; and $927,890 near Edinburg on Dec. 11, 2007.
Cruz will remain in custody until he’s assigned to a federal prison in the future.