Apr 16, 2013 3:13 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - A Corpus Christi resident is headed to prison for nine years for his role in a marijuana smuggling conspiracy involving the notorious Zetas drug cartel.
According to prosecutors, 42-year-old Jose Maria Carbajal Jr. lead an effort to smuggle more than 1,000 kilos of marijuana around the Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias from late 2008 until early January. Carbajal also lied on a loan application to a bank.
Authorities say Carbajal's group used all-terrain vehicles to move the marijuana through ranch land. One of the vehicles was found abandoned on a ranch.
According to prosecutors, Carbajal also sought assistance from the Zetas after a load of marijuana was seized in late 2010. Carbajal was allegedly trying to find out if anyone in his organization was acting as a government informant. He claimed to have shown members of the cartel the homes of two law enforcement officers in Brooks County.
Prosecutors say the Zetas considered kidnapping the officers in order to obtain the names of potential informants.
The five Brooks County men who were working with Carbajal have already plead guilty to drug conspiracy charges and are awaiting sentencing later this year.