Judge Praises Former Narcotics Smuggler For Fixing Up His Life, Supporting His Family

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Kaylee Greenlee Immigration and Extremism Reporter
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A south Texas judge praised a former narcotics smuggler for leaving the operations and taking care of his family, the Progress Times reported on Friday.

Rigoberto Beltran, 38, was indicted on drug trafficking charges in connection with a marijuana smuggling operation he worked on with his brothers in McAllen, Texas, according to the Progress Times. Beltran pleaded guilty and worked with the federal investigation and was sentenced to an unknown time in prison and two years of supervised release.

“I deeply, deeply regret getting into all the trouble I’ve been,” Beltran said at his sentencing on Thursday, the Progress Times reported. “And now I’ll deserve any punishment that’s coming.”

It’s unclear why or when Beltran quit the smuggling operation to sell cars, and sometimes people who knew his brothers would show up at the dealership, according to the Progress Times. He moved his way up from a car washer to a salesman and closed the deal on 16 vehicles in his first month before he later became a general manager.

“I’ve tried my hardest to show that I deserve another chance,” Beltran said, the Progress Times reported. “I started as a porter, washing cars. I went from Rio Grande all the way to Edinburg, every single day from Monday to Saturday.” The cities are around an hour’s drive apart.

Beltran is “being held responsible for [conspiring to transport] at least 1,000 but less than 3,000 kilograms” of marijuana, prosecutor Assistant U.S. Attorney Patricia Hubert Booth said, the Progress Times reported. “The other indictments that came later and the other defendants pled to much, much more because of the cooperation of Mr. Rigoberto.”

Booth filed a motion to reduce Beltran’s sentence and U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey sealed a 20 minute conversation about the reduction, according to the Progress Times. Beltran gave federal investigators information on law enforcement officials who worked with the brothers to conceal the operation.

“I am impressed by the extent of your rehabilitation,” Rainey said, the Progress Times reported. “One other comment I’ll make as we close. I’ve heard about how successful you’ve been in this car business. And you’ve prospered as a result of it.”

“So think of how fortunate you are,” Rainey added, the Progress Times reported. “Not only with the sentence that I’m imposing, but with what you’ve accomplished in your life.” (RELATED: Illegal Immigrant Sentenced For Scheme Where He Conspired With Law Enforcement To Steal Drugs From Mexican Cartel)

The Beltran brothers’ operation included buying stolen marijuana from the Texas Chicano Brotherhood, working with the Gulf Cartel and paying off law enforcement, according to the Progress Times. They transported the stolen marijuana to Dallas, Houston, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Homeland Security Investigations suspect the brothers of trafficking around 60,000 pounds of marijuana, the Progress Times reported. Their operations were first discovered after a sheriff’s deputy found around 600 pounds of marijuana in a horse trailer in 2013.

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