Cuban national Alexander Lorenzo Gil-Cruz, 41, has been sentenced to an 11-year prison term following his convictions relating to the importation of crystal methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. A federal jury returned guilty verdicts against him following a two-day trial and approximately one hour of deliberation on May 31, 2012.
Today, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo H. Hinojosa, who presided over the trial, handed Gil-Cruz the 135-month sentence as to each count of conviction and further ordered he serve five years of supervised release following completion of that prison term. In handing down the sentence, Judge Hinojosa noted that Gil-Cruz lied to the jury and is still lying to himself about his involvement in drug trafficking.
During trial, the United States presented evidence that Gil-Cruz drove a Ford Focus loaded with 10 kilograms of methamphetamine in a man-made hidden compartment from Mexico through the Anzalduas Port of Entry at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, 2012. The methamphetamine seized from Gil-Cruz’s vehicle was 98 percent pure and was valued at more than a quarter million dollars.
The prosecution also demonstrated that Jan. 7 was not the first time Gil-Cruz had entered the United States driving such a vehicle. He was caught Dec. 12, 2011, driving a different Ford Focus, but also with an empty hidden compartment. Officers also discovered a photo of large amounts of money stacked on table.
The defendant testified at trial and denied knowing the drugs were in his vehicle. He attempted to convince the jury that the purpose of his many trips to Mexico was to chat with women at the local mall and tried to imply the drugs were loaded into his vehicle while it was parked in the mall parking lot. The defense also tried to show the jury that Gil-Cruz was a good guy and, as a Cuban refugee, he would never betray the country that had given him so much.
The jury ultimately was not convinced and found him guilty of importing 10 kilograms of methamphetamine and possession with intent to distribute in excess of 10 kilograms grams of methamphetamine.
Gil-Cruz, a legal permanent resident, has been in custody since his arrest where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The case was investigated by Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Kristen J. Rees and former AUSA Patricia A. Rigney.