MCALLEN, Texas – A previously deported illegal alien from Mexico who had been convicted in the U.S. in connection with a large marijuana plantation is back in the U.S. and in handcuffs.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 42-year-old Victorino Betancourt Meraz earlier this week in the border city of Encino, court records obtained by Breitbart Texas revealed.
During questioning, Betancourt Meraz told agents that he had illegally crossed into the U.S over the weekend. Authorities did a records check on the illegal alien and discovered that he had been deported on May 7 through El Paso, Texas.
In 2012, Betancourt Meraz ended up pleading guilty and was convicted of manufacturing more than 1,000 marijuana plants in California. He played a small role in a large conspiracy that took authorities years to investigate and round up the key players.
The case against Betancourt stems from a 2011 investigation by DEA agents and sheriff’s deputies in California where they targeted marijuana plantations in rural communities near California’s national forests, court documents that Breitbart Texas had access to revealed.
As part of that investigation, Betancourt told authorities that he worked at the plantation cutting marijuana plants. For a day of working the marijuana fields, Betancourt who was in the country illegally received $100 per day.
In that case, Betancourt Meraz ended up receiving a 37 month prison sentence after which he was deported.
This week Betancourt Meraz went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos who formally charged him with illegal re-entry and ordered he be held without bond.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, plantations are becoming more and more common along the Texas border. Earlier this year authorities in Laredo ended up uncovering a large marijuana plantation belonging to Los Zetas with an approximate value of $2 million.
This week Breitbart Texas reported on two illegal aliens who were father and son that have been sent to prison for having a marijuana plantation with approximately 11,500 marijuana plants in Willacy County.