A 37-year-old Mexican national was recently sentenced to federal prison for immigration and drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas.

Juan Jose Castro-Ayala pleaded guilty on April 3, to possession with intent to distribute cocaine and unlawfully reentering the United States after having been deported. Castro-Ayala was sentenced in August by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone to 80 months in federal prison for the drug conviction and 24 months for the immigration violation.

The sentences were ordered to run concurrently.

A written statement from the office of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District Joe Brown, said that information presented in court showed that on Sep. 12, 2018, Castro-Ayala was stopped for a traffic violation in Jefferson County. A search of the vehicle revealed seven kilograms of cocaine inside two five-gallon paint buckets. Castro-Ayala was transported to jail where a records check revealed he had been previously deported from the United States on three separate occasions in 2014 and again in 2015. Further investigation revealed Castro-Ayala was convicted in 2003 of assault causing bodily injury in Hidalgo County.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's, Enforcement and Removal Operations and the Beaumont Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke.