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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
  2. News Room
  3. 2 Traffickers Sentenced for Narcotics Smuggling Attempt

2 Traffickers Sentenced for Narcotics Smuggling Attempt Following HSI Rio Grande Valley, Federal Partner Investigation

Release Date: April 19, 2024

McALLEN, Texas — Two men were sentenced for their roles in a cocaine smuggling operation following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with help from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Argelio Chavero, 51, of Alton, and Agustin Romero Jr., 41, a U.S. citizen residing in Mexico, were sentenced by a federal judge on April 18. Chavera was sentenced to 188 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Romero was sentenced to 57 months followed by three years of supervised release.

At the hearing, prosecutors provided evidence of Chavero’s lengthy criminal history, which includes a prior attempt to smuggle 30 pounds of marijuana in a vehicle’s spare tires and gas tank through the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint. In addition, the court heard that drug trafficking runs in the Chavero family; Chavero’s brother is also in federal custody for a 2021 conviction of importing meth.

In handing down the sentence, the judge noted that Chavero has led a life of crime.

Chavero pleaded guilty April 23, 2023, and Romero pleaded guilty Dec. 19, 2022.

“The sentencing of two defendants to 15 years and five years in prison, respectively, highlights the success of HSI’s collaborative efforts in combating drug trafficking along the southern border” said HSI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “HSI is committed to holding accountable those who recklessly push this poison into our communities.”

According to court documents, on April 24, 2021, Romero drove to the Hidalgo Port of Entry attempting to enter the United States from Mexico. Upon an X-ray inspection of the vehicle, law enforcement noticed anomalies in the gas tank. Further inspection revealed 4 kilograms of marijuana and 26 pounds of meth concealed within 33 packages inside the gas tank. Chavero recruited Romero and provided him with a vehicle at the port’s Mexican entrance. Chavero initially denied knowing Romero and driving the vehicle. However, authorities confronted Chavero with photographs of him driving the vehicle with Romero as passenger.

Both remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Laura Garcia prosecuted the case.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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