South Texas man pleads guilty to cocaine-trafficking conspiracy

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A south Texas man pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted in Corpus Christi by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations and the Corpus Christi Police Department.

Jose Garza aka "Cano," 24, is from Sullivan City, Texas. He was indicted on July 17, 2008, alleging he participated in a cocaine-trafficking conspiracy from about June 2006 through April 2008. After being a fugitive for almost four years, Garza turned himself in to law enforcement officials in McAllen, Texas, on Jan. 30, 2012.

The government's evidence indicated Garza was involved in a large-scale cocaine-trafficking conspiracy based in Sullivan City. Garza was employed by members of this conspiracy to deliver cocaine and conduct counter-surveillance activities.

More than 20 members of this conspiracy have already been arrested and convicted, and more than $5 million in assets seized and forfeited by the United States, including multiple pieces of real property and U.S. currency.

Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack accepted the guilty plea on Mar. 5 and set sentencing for May 24. Garza faces up to life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $4 million.