Truck company owner sent to prison

| 12/10/2001

The owner of a Laredo, TX, trucking company has been sentenced to 11 years in federal prison for attempting to transport and being in possession of more than 2 tons of marijuana.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge George Kazen sentenced Luis Alfredo Pedraza, owner of LAP Transportation, to 132 months in prison. A Laredo federal jury convicted Pedraza in August.

On May 4, 2001, Pedraza was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Interstate 35 checkpoint and began inspecting a load of soft drinks he was hauling. Agents discovered the pallets of Mexican soda were packed with 150 bundles of marijuana.

During his trial, Pedraza claimed he was unaware the shipment contained the contraband. Prosecutors pointed out that the address shown on his shipping documents was nonexistent. In addition, he couldn't provide the full name of the person for whom he was shipping the load.