Texas truck driver gets 50 years for being cartel drug mule

By Land Line staff | 2/27/2012

A truck driver has been sentenced to half a century behind bars for his role in a marijuana smuggling attempt that started in Mexico and ended in a Texas drug bust last summer.

Ronnie Earl Ricks, 61, of Pasadena, TX, was reportedly sentenced last week to 50 years in prison.

A Montgomery County, TX jury convicted Ricks of first degree felony possession of marijuana earlier this winter, Your Houston News reported. 

Last July, Ricks’ truck and trailer were disabled in the northbound lanes on U.S. 59 when a deputy “happened upon it,” the newspaper reported. Ricks’ logbook didn’t match what he told the deputy. Later, a search of the truck revealed 2,400 pounds of marijuana hidden among produce inside the trailer, Your Houston News reported.

A district attorney in the case said Ricks’ truck had passed through a checkpoint after being loaded near the U.S.-Mexico border.

The possession case is reportedly Ricks’ first felony conviction, though prosecutors said he lied several times to investigators and during the trial. Ricks is also reportedly a widower raising three young children.

Acknowledging Rick’s difficulties, District Court Judge Fred Edwards said the real problem is, “you pick up the paper on a daily basis and you read about 20-50 people being murdered every day in Mexico,” according to Your Houston News. “That’s where the money is going. Maybe the next poor soul asked to be a mule may hear about Mr. Ricks and wonder if it’s worth it and not do it, and maybe the cartel won’t get people like you.”

Drug sentences have been known to vary greatly.

In an unrelated case, Canadian truck driver Gaston Danjou was sentenced last week to serve six years in prison for his role in an operation that smuggled cocaine into Nevada. 

Danjou was arrested last August on Interstate 15 by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

The trooper and a drug-sniffing dog found about 452 pounds of cocaine in duffel bags in a hidden compartment near Danjou’s truck’s sleeper, the newspaper reported.