CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Ray Anthony Almaroad, 36, of Edinburg, Texas, has been sentenced to federal prison after admitting to his role in a large cocaine trafficking conspiracy, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery.
Almaroad pleaded guilty on Jan. 26.
On May 19, U.S. District Judge David Morales ordered Almaroad to serve an 87-month sentence, to be immediately followed by four years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional statements regarding Almaroad’s use of a tractor-trailer, hauling a legitimate truckload of limes, as a decoy for a hidden shipment of cocaine.
Just before midnight on Nov. 27, 2020, a tractor-trailer driven by Luis Elfego Ramirez, 49, also of Edinburg, approached the Border Patrol checkpoint located near Sarita, Texas. Almaroad was a passenger in the truck, and is the registered owner of the vehicle.
While inspecting the tractor-trailer, agents noted weld marks on the diesel tank and discovered a custom-made concealed compartment within the fuel tank. Authorities then found and seized 110 bundles of cocaine, with a total net weight of 109 kilograms. The drugs have an estimated street value of more than $3.2 million.
Previously released on bond, Almaroad was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility, to be determined in the future. Ramirez had previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 120 months of imprisonment.
The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Manning and former Assistant U.S. Attorney David Paxton prosecuted the case.
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