Five residents of South Texas were arrested early this year and brought to trial for smuggling illegal substances—cocaine, to be precise, into the United States from Mexico. Of the original six involved in the case, four have been found guilty and given their sentences, while the last person is currently on the lam and another awaits sentencing in December.
The case involved a Brownsville, Texas auto glass shop as the base of operations for the smuggling concern. The operation focused in particular on cocaine for its product, and the six persons caught and arrested for the crime upon discovery were Arturo Gomez, David Alcala, Magda Zendejas, Reyna Ceballos, Julio Gonzalez, and Vanessa Weaver.
Apparently, the six had used the auto glass shop as a front for their illicit activities, also using the shop as the storage point for the illegal substances they were smuggling. The cocaine would typically make its way into the Texas-based shop from Mexico and be moved into either Atlanta or Dallas, depending on the group’s plans. Sometimes, drugs would also be moved from the US and into Mexico, complicating the case against the six persons involved.
The first hearings for the case were held around the month of April this year, and during those early hearings, one of the defendants, 28-year-old Vanessa Weaver, pleaded guilty. However, she subsequently went on the run, and is to this day missing, although authorities are still searching for her. Authorities say that people who might have information on where she might be should get in touch with Homeland Security Investigations to help authorities close the case. Even as the search for Weaver goes on, her confederates, who remained and bore out the trials, have all been given fairly lengthy sentences for their crimes—as indeed would be expected of defendants for a drug smuggling case.
The four South Texans who were actually charged and convicted have been given differing sentences, due to the differences in their participation and activities in the crime. The heaviest sentence was given to the owner of the auto glass shop, 31-year-old Arturo Gomez, who has received a total of 25 years in jail for his crime. His sentence was followed by that of Magda Zendejas, which came to 19.5 years. Zendejas played a special part in that she was the person in charge of recruiting drivers for their operation. The other two persons sentenced, 21-year-old Reyna Ceballos and 30-year-old David Alcala, have received 70 months and 7.5 years, respectively. Finally, 45-year-old Julio Gonzalez is going to be sentenced on the first of the last month of this year.