Following a two-day trial, a federal jury spent less than an hour deliberating before convicting a Houston woman to federal prison after she attempted to import enough fentanyl to kill two million people, according to a release from the United States Department of Justice.

Monica Mata Vasquez, 46, was convicted on Aug. 25, 2023, and sentenced on Friday to serve 136 months in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release after being convicted of conspiring to import fentanyl.

Authorities said Vasquez’s “suspicious travel itinerary” caused her to be referred to a secondary inspection on March 10, 2023, while at the Juarez-Lincoln Port of Entry into the U.S. in Laredo.

During the inspection, authorities reported noticing anomalies in her car’s battery. When law enforcement removed the battery, they found four bundles of fentanyl hidden inside. The total weight of the package was 4.6 kilograms, with the “approximate strength to kill more than two million people,” authorities said.

In the two-day trial, the jury saw text messages from Vasquez’s phone, which showed she had been coordinating “trips” with co-conspirators to and from Monterrey, Mexico, into the U.S. as far back as July 2022. The evidence showed she had gone to Alabama and had conversations about purchasing and installing car batteries.

Further testimony indicated the messages showed she was part of an agreement to import and traffic narcotics.

“It takes only a tiny amount of fentanyl to kill a loved one. Vasquez brought in 4.6 kilos of that dangerous drug from Mexico–enough to kill approximately two million people,” U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani said. “She routinely traveled to Monterrey, Mexico, to pick up narcotics and did it all for money. She prioritized her greed over the well-being of our community. (Friday’s) sentence takes a callous drug transporter off the streets and away from the border and guarantees that Vasquez will no longer profit from the pervasive destruction of fentanyl.”

In an effort, the defense tried to convince the jury that Vasquez had no clue the drugs were inside her car, but the jury did not believe that.

Vasquez was found guilty of engaging in a conspiracy to import fentanyl. She’s in custody, pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility.

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