TUCSON, Ariz. — On Aug. 8, a southern Arizona man was sentenced to 70 months in prison, followed by 36 months of supervised release as the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with assistance from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Rey Moreno-Vasquez, 52, of Douglas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson; he previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
“While some may mistakenly view smuggling controlled substances, and in this case, in liquid form, as a pathway to a quick profit, the sentencing of this defendant demonstrates that grave consequences await those who participate in this criminal activity,” said Scott Brown, special agent in charge, HSI Phoenix. “HSI is firmly committed to dismantling criminal organizations who blatantly ignore the laws of this nation.”
In March 2017, law enforcement officers seized a load of liquid methamphetamine hidden in 52 sealed beverage bottles that were being transported in a vehicle in the southeastern United States. HSI special agents later learned that Moreno-Vasquez was involved in a conspiracy to traffic liquid methamphetamine from Mexico into the United States.
The investigation led to a second seizure in Arizona in August 2017, in which the liquid methamphetamine was being smuggled in a recreational vehicle destined for Atlanta, Georgia. The liquid methamphetamine was hidden in bottles labeled as iced tea, juice, and ginger ale. The total amount seized by law enforcement was approximately 234 kilograms.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stefani K. Hepford and Ashley Culver, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.
For additional information about HSI’s smuggling activity in Arizona, follow us on Twitter @HSIPhoenix.
HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
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