American 32-year-old Diego Santillan of Del Rio, Texas will spend 18 years in federal prison for possessing over 100 kilograms of marijuana with the intent to distribute. According to an indictment obtained by Breitbart Texas, Santillan also faces a fine of up to $2 million.
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) press release states that in 2011, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents found over 800 pounds of marijuana inside a Del Rio home after obtaining a warrant to search the residence.
Subsequent to arresting four individuals, agents received a tip that Santillan operated multiple “stash houses” in the area, similar to the one where the previous 800 pounds of marijuana were discovered. On October 23, 2012, Santillan was arrested by federal agents. HSI and ICE handled the investigation that took place after his apprehension.
Santillan was sentenced on March 6, after pleading guilty in July to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana, according to federal guidelines obtained by Breitbart Texas. Satillan faces eight years of supervised release, which will occur after he completes 18 years in prison in Bastrop. During this time, he must participate in a General Equivalency Diploma Program.
Typically, ICE involves itself in cases that involve illegal immigrants. The agency may also become involved, however, in other crimes that involve illegal drugs or take place near the Mexican/U.S. border.
Nina Pruneda, a spokeswoman for ICE, told Breitbart Texas, “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) promotes homeland security and public safety through the criminal and civil enforcement of a wide range of federal laws governing border control, customs, trade and immigration. While ICE has had involvement with this individual’s case, that involvement did not involve the agency’s immigration enforcement authorities.”
Of Santillan’s case, HSI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala said, “This investigation resulted in dismantling a large-scale drug-smuggling, -staging and -transporting operation. HSI is committed to making our communities safer by conducting joint robust investigations with the San Antonio Police Department, and other law enforcement partners, to achieve that goal.”