BROWNSVILLE, Texas – A man authorities said is a long time Gulf Cartel members was given a 16-year sentence Monday after he was convicted for federal counts of cocaine trafficking.
Judge Andrew Hanen gave Omar Quezada-Alcala, 36, of Matamoros 188 months in prison after he listened to the evidence presented at trial and as part of his pre-sentencing report.
At the trial, jurors heard testimony that on May 13, 2011, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents encountered an individual attempting to smuggle cocaine into the United States through the B&M International Bridge Port of Entry in Brownsville.
After meeting with the driver of the loaded vehicle, agents decided to attempt a controlled delivery of the cocaine in order to identify other individuals involved in the conspiracy.
The controlled delivery was initially attempted at two different locations in Brownsville and, at those locations, agents spotted individuals involved in counter-surveillance activities.
Eventually, the drop off was set to occur in the K-Mart parking lot near the Sunrise Mall in Brownsville. The cooperating driver made telephone contact with an individual who said he would be picking up the car and that individual described his clothes.
Shortly afterwards, the driver met with Quezada-Alcala at the mall, where the key exchange happened. From there, Quezada left the mall and drove around the parking lot, headed south and then turned north to drive to the K-Mart parking lot.
Quezada drove through the rows until he arrived at the vehicle containing the cocaine and eventually walked to the loaded car, at which time he was arrested by agents.
After his arrest, Quezada initially claimed to be a mechanic working on the car, but the van he arrived in had no mechanic’s tools in it.
Quezada then admitted to working for individuals involved in the drug trade and admitted that, while he did not know what was in the car, he suspected it contained narcotics, cocaine or weapons.
Quezada admitted he was going to be paid to pick up the car and deliver it to an unknown location and that he had done it before.
At the trial, Quezada took the stand and claimed he was coming to inspect the car and perform necessary mechanic work. Quezada further denied making any statements to agents.
At the hearing today, evidence was presented showing Quezada-Alcala used a minor to help commit the crime by having her drive his van to where he picked up the vehicle loaded with cocaine. Other documents were shown indicating his admission of being a leader in the “Paisa” prison gang and a long time member of the Gulf Cartel.