An Army National Guardsman will spend more than four years in prison for using his position to smuggle cocaine from Mexico to Texas.
This week, 28-year-old Jonathan Zarazua appeared before U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. in Brownsville and was sentenced to four years and two months in prison. During the hearing, Rodriguez noted that the National Guard was responsible for numerous smuggling events. Zarazua pleaded guilty to a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine on January 13.
The case began on September 11, 2021, when Zarazua pulled into an inspection lane at the B&M International Bridge in Brownsville. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent asked him about his trip to Mexico and he said he was visiting his father in Matamoros, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The CBP officer sent Zarazua to a secondary inspection area where authorities used X-ray scanning to find a hidden compartment in the vehicle’s center console. Authorities found 14.6 pounds of cocaine.
Federal prosecutors revealed that at the time of his arrest, Zarazua was in the Army National Guard as an oil supply specialist, and before that, an active duty soldier from 2016 to 2020.
Authorities said Zarazua claimed to have smuggled drugs at least 30 times and was recruited because his military status earned him preferential treatment at ports of entry.
Luisana Moreno is an editor for Breitbart Texas.