A Douglas man was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for his marijuana trafficking conviction.
Jesse Bruner, 46, was also ordered to receive three years of supervised release.
Bruner and a co-defendant, a 72-year-old woman from Kentucky, were arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents on April 7, 2011, in Hidalgo County, NM. Authorities found about 239 pounds of marijuana in a vehicle driven by the woman. Bruner was a passenger.
Bruner alone was indicted on July 20, 2011, and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Bruner entered a guilty plea to the indictment on Oct. 6, 2011. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.
Court records stated that on April 7, 2011, U.S. Border Patrol agents followed the vehicle driven by the woman as it traveled north on Hidalgo County Road 1 toward Animas, NM, and then abruptly turned onto a local ranch road and stopped at the only house on the road.
They observed Bruner get out of the vehicle and knock on the door to the house. The woman then drove the vehicle around the back of the house and back to Hidalgo County Road 1, where she slowed down and stopped when she saw the agents, court records stated.
When the agents approached the vehicle to speak with the woman, they observed large bundles on the back seat that were packaged in a manner consistent with packaging for marijuana.
After arresting the woman, the agents arrested Bruner, who had remained in the vicinity of the house. A search of the vehicle revealed that it contained 10 bundles containing an aggregate of 238.95 pounds of marijuana.
The charges against the woman were dismissed before Bruner was indicted after law enforcement authorities determined that Bruner deceived her into participating in his drug trafficking activities.
Bruner also threatened her life when she objected to participating in the crime, court records stated.
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