Houston Men Plead Guilty To Smuggling Ton Of Marijuana In Watermelons

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Two Houston men plead guilty in connection to a scheme to smuggle more than a ton of marijuana concealed in shipments of watermelon.

Humberto Reyes, 51, and Victor Pena, 30, were the fifth and sixth persons to plead guilty to a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Last week, Lauro Cisneros, 27, Leonel Pena, 34, Orlando Ramirez, 41, and Roel Reyna, 47, plead guilty to the charges. A seventh man, Agapito Lopez, 45, remains at large in connection to the case.

In June, the men linked to the case began to use rigs to haul marijuana that was hidden in watermelon pallets from McAllen to a warehouse in Houston, according to court documents. But on July 28, officials witnessed three of the men unloading the pallets from a tractor trailer. While doing this, officials said, Ramirez provided counter-surveillance around the warehouse.

According to court documents, officials would follow Reyes, stopping him in the van after he had driven away from the Houston warehouse. Authorities found 84 bales of marijuana in the van before finding another 53 bales in the warehouse, bringing the total weight to 3,158 pounds.

Each of the six men faces between 10 years and life in prison with a fine of up to $8 million. They are scheduled to be sentenced on March 1, 2012.

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