Three individuals, including a father and his daughter, were arrested on May 2 for allegedly smuggling marijuana through the United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), according to local reports. All three recently plead not guilty.
The Monitor reported that the defendants are 44-year-old Mario Enrique Patlan, his daughter 23-year-old Cristina Patlan, and 26-year-old Reymundo Abel Brown Jr. The trio allegedly solicited drug trafficking organizations that were interested in moving marijuana through UPS. Various Texas-based airports such as those in McAllen and Brownsville were utilized in the scheme, which is thought to have taken place from 2007 through 2013.
According to the Brownsville Herald, Mario Patlan worked at UPS before and during the scheme. His position at UPS allowed him to obtain an official Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) badge, reports state. SIDA badge-holders have access to restricted areas where commercial planes load and unload.
Mario Patlan allegedly took advantage of his position to move large amounts of marijuana through U.S. airports.
Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent James Wimberly reportedly testified that Cristina Patlan was the individual responsible for recruiting drug traffickers interested in moving their products using UPS. The Brownsville Herald reported that traffickers were charged $50 to $100 per pound of marijuana.
Wimberly claimed that money from out-of-state, ranging from $7,000 to $10,000, was deposited into Patlan’s account numerous times. Patlan would then supposedly disperse the money to individuals working for drug trafficking organizations, according to The Monitor.
Ultimately, the drugs allegedly ended up in cities all around this country, including those in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
All three of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute illegal drugs, according to the Brownsville Herald. If found guilty, they could each reportedly spend up to 40 years in federal prison and face millions of dollars in fines.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.