Edinburg man used mail system to transport cocaine

Defendant mailed cocaine from McAllen to Corpus Christi, record says

Axel Noel Rodriguez Rivera

An Edinburg man will serve a 10-year prison sentence for using the postal service to transport cocaine, records show.

U.S. District Judge David S. Morales sentenced Axel Noel Rodriguez Rivera to a 120-month prison sentence Wednesday for his role in using the country’s mail system to smuggle drugs across the country.

According to the complaint against Rodriguez, on Jan. 24, U.S. Postal personnel identified a parcel destined for Corpus Christi to recipient “Hi-Tech Solutions,” a consulting firm in Chicago.

Three days later, the parcel was searched and found to contain a packaged bundle of cocaine that weighed approximately 2.59 kilograms.

After the cocaine was field-tested, it was repackaged, placed back in its original box, and delivered to its intended mailbox.

“The parcel was then taken to a UPS store located in Corpus Christi, TX. The parcel was addressed to box #122 at that location,” the complaint states.

That same day, Rodriguez entered the UPS store at about 5 p.m., and picked up the package.

“Once outside, (Rodriguez) was taken into custody as he was putting the controlled parcel along with another box in the rear of his vehicle,” the court documents show.

At the hearing, the court heard information detailing how Rodriguez used multiple mail center mailboxes to receive cocaine through the mail. In handing down the sentence, Judge Morales noted Rodriguez’s prior felony drug convictions, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas.

“Illegal drugs have no business being a part of the mail stream,” U.S. Inspector in Charge Adrian Gonzalez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service said in the release. “Postal inspectors work tirelessly to rid the mail of illicit and dangerous drugs and provide a safe environment for postal employees and Postal Service customers.

The investigation revealed Rodriguez had retrieved multiple parcels from mail centers within the Corpus Christi area. The packages were either sent through third-party shippers or the U.S. Postal Service. Each of the parcels contained cocaine, the release states.

The 41-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance in late July, records show. As part of the plea deal, the government agreed to dismiss Rodriguez’s remaining charge; distribution of a controlled substance.

Rodriguez was ultimately charged for roughly 10 kilograms of cocaine which had an estimated street value of $250,000.