LAFAYETTE — A 45-year-old Weslaco, Texas, man received a life sentence for his role in a large-scale cocaine and marijuana trafficking organization, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
A federal jury convicted Antonio Luna Valdez on Feb. 16 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release Monday.
Testimony revealed that Valdez, along with family, was involved in smuggling and transporting huge amounts of cocaine and marijuana from Mexico into the United States, including the Lafayette area, using 18-wheelers, SUVs and other vehicles.
A large portion of the cocaine transported to Louisiana was converted into “crack” and distributed in the Lafayette-New Iberia area, the release says.
The government seized $1,275,940 and an 18-wheeler used to traffic the narcotics related to the case.
Proceeds from the drug sales were then transported back to the Rio Grande Valley area in Texas. The drug trafficking occurred from January 2002 through October 2006, according to the indictment.
The investigation was led by U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Louisiana State Police and the Lafayette Metro Narcotics Unit.
U.S. District Judge Rebecca F. Doherty handed down Valdez’s sentence.
“This was a complex drug organization that distributed enormous quantities of cocaine and marijuana in the Acadiana region and caused immeasurable harm to the community,” U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley said in the release.