Customs and Border Protection works to stop drugs coming from Mexico by land, sea and even tunnel. A USA TODAY NETWORK video production.
A convicted drug trafficker four times over was sentenced to 200 months in prison after he recently pleaded guilty to possession to nearly 30,000 grams of methamphetamine, officials say.
Bernardo Romo-Ramos, 35, was sentenced last week by U.S. District Court Judge Raner C. Collin, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and court documents said.
This was Romo-Ramos’ fourth drug trafficking conviction, according to prosecutors.
In the latest incident, he was caught driving a truck in southern Arizona containing 47 packages of narcotics in the floorboards in 2016.
Approximately 22 kilograms of methamphetamine and 1.2 kilograms of heroin were revealed in the packages, according to court documents. One kilogram equals 1,000 grams.
Romo-Ramos, from Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico, had entered Arizona through the Papago Gate on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation, U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Romo-Ramos is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, therefore allowing him to cross the border freely, court documents said.
In a pre-sentencing report, Romo-Ramos was said to have felt shame and embarrassment over his activities and asked the court to consider a prison sentence of no more than 180 months.
The report explained Romo-Ramos’s mother had moved him to the reservation when he was 8 years old to obtain a better education.
Romo-Ramos went back to Mexico when he was 14 and, within two years, started to get recruited by local criminal organizations, according to the report. He resisted but eventually began helping in smuggling efforts due to threats made against his friends and family, court documents said.
He was first arrested at 16 years old, records showed.
Even after his first conviction, Romo-Ramos contended that the cartels pushed harder for him to do their business. He now understands that he was being used, according to the report, and regrets returning to Mexico as a teenager.
Court proceedings are ongoing for a woman named as a co-defendant in the case.
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