Texas trucker sentenced for cocaine seizure

Published 3:21 pm Friday, June 15, 2007

A trucker arrested after law officers found 88 pounds of cocaine in his rig has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

“This was the largest bust of its type in this area in quite some time,” Assistant District Attorney Chris Fisher said after the Wednesday sentencing of Valentin Garcia, 32, in Hancock County Circuit Court.

Garcia, of Baytown, Texas, pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, Fisher said.

Circuit Judge Roger Clark sentenced Garcia to 20 years in prison with 12 years suspended.

Garcia was arrested on July 27, 2006, at the Mississippi weigh station just inside Hancock County on Interstate 10.

Agents from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics questioned him there. A search of the truck found two large duffel bags stuffed with cocaine.

A second man, who had been in the truck’s sleeper cab, fled into the woods near the weigh station and was never captured.

Garcia told authorities he had picked the man up outside Houston and agreed to take him and the drugs into Mississippi, Fisher said. Fisher said Garcia told investigators that he was promised $6,000.

In addition to the prison time, Garcia’s 18-wheel rig was seized and he was fined $3,000, Fisher said.