After an all-day hearing in Sherman, federal Judge Amos L. Mazzant sentenced Wilson Luargas-Garcia to life imprisonment for the charge of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine for distribution into the United States. Luargas-Garcia was convicted on September 18, 2019.
According to a DOJ press release, Luargas-Garcia was prominent for being particularly violent as he orchestrated deliveries with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (the FARC), drug cartels, and “guerrilla fighters in Central and South America.” The FARC is a Marxist terrorist organization in Colombia that started in the 1960s as the martial arm of the Colombian Communist Party, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
The DOJ said Luargas-Garcia also spent the illegal profits from his drug operation on firearms and training his “personal paramilitary security guards.”
The government indicated Luargas-Garcia, with the help of other inmates, had continued to run his narcotics operation even after he was taken into custody in April 2018 and extradited to Texas. Visitors were smuggling cell phones and other contraband to Luargas-Garcia while he was in jail in East Texas.
By way of an effort known as “Operation Black Snails,” Guatemalan authorities cooperated with United States federal agencies and the Smith County Sheriff’s Office to put a stop to Luargas-Garcia’s illegal activities and secure the guilty verdict. After law enforcement ended his drug ring, Luargas-Garcia threatened to kill a federal prosecutor.
According to the most recent statistics provided by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), 97,638 pounds of cocaine were seized by border guards during Fiscal Year 2021. That figure amounts to a 68 percent increase from Fiscal Year 2020, but a three percent decrease from Fiscal Year 2019.
Acting United States Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei celebrated the term of incarceration as a deterrent to transnational narcotics trafficking.
“Mr. Luargas-Garcia’s sentence sends a strong message that international drug traffickers are not safe from prosecution simply because they reside overseas,” Ganjei said in the DOJ press statement. “[The Eastern District of Texas] will continue to be aggressive in its efforts to extradite and prosecute international drug traffickers and to stop their deadly shipments from ever making it to American shores.”
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan. He has coached high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.