United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Texas

04/16/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/16/2024 10:58

Meth “cooks” sent to prison in custom importation scheme

Press Release

Meth "cooks" sent to prison in custom importation scheme

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN, Texas - Three men have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to traffic and "cook" custom meth orders in the McAllen area, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Alfredo Duarte, 32, Fullerton, California, and Mexican citizens Abraham Pena-Quintero, 39, and Francisco Hernandez-Madrid, 49, each pleaded guilty April 24, 2023.

Chief U.S. District Judge Randy Crane has now imposed a 135-month-term of imprisonment for Duarte, while Pena-Quintero and Hernandez-Madrid received 78 and 57 months, respectively. Duarte must also serve three years of supervised release following his sentence. Not U.S. citizens, Pena-Quintero and Hernandez-Madrid are expected to face removal proceedings following their respective terms of imprisonment. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence about how Duarte planned and orchestrated a scheme with undercover authorities to trade guns in exchange for drugs. In handing down the prison terms, Judge Crane noted the specialized methods of the scheme to "cook" exceptionally large crystals of meth and the dangerousness that such narcotics represent to the United States.

An undercover investigation around 2021 revealedDuarte and co-conspirators imported liquid meth from Mexico. They would then "cook" it into crystals to whatever purity level and size their customers wanted.

Through the course of the investigation, the individuals delivered over 11 kilograms of meth in the McAllen area. Duarte served as the customer-facing member of the conspiracy, while Pena-Quintero and Hernandez-Madrid were narcotics couriers.

Pena-Quintero and Hernandez-Madrid will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future. Duarte was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender at a later date.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation as part of a joint operation deemed "Operation: Knock Down." Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert L. Guerra Jr. prosecuted the case.

Updated April 16, 2024
Drug Trafficking