Del Rio jury convicts SA area woman for smuggling meth

Woman faces 10 year to life in prison


Maria Landin, 46, of Helotes, faces between 10 years and life in federal prison after a jury in Del Rio convicted her Wednesday afternoon for her role in a scheme to smuggle into the United States 878.2 grams of pure crystal methamphetamine.

Jurors convicted Landin of one count of conspiracy to import a controlled substance.

Sentencing for Landin, who remains in federal custody, is scheduled for May 5.

Evidence and testimony presented during trial revealed that on Nov. 11, Landin hired two individuals—Paul McKinney and Anthony Cole, both of Corpus Christi--to go and pick up the crystal methamphetamine in Piedras Negras, Mexico, and return to her residence in Helotes, for distribution in the San Antonio area.

On Nov. 11, McKinney and Cole were apprehended at the Eagle Pass Port of Entry, Bridge No. 2, while in possession of the crystal methamphetamine.

Testimony further revealed that the co-conspirators met at Landin’s residence in Helotes, where McKinney and Cole were given a cell phone, cash, and instructions on how to make contact in Mexico with the source of the methamphetamine.

Landin also instructed the two couriers to conceal the drugs on their bodies using tape.

After retrieving the methamphetamine, Cole and McKinney became lost in Mexico.

Landin assisted Cole and McKinney by providing them with directions back to the Port of Entry.

Inspection at the port revealed two bundles of methamphetamine taped to Cole’s legs.

The methamphetamine had a street value of approximately $100,000.

Cole and McKinney, who remain in federal custody, have already pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and are awaiting sentencing in March.

This investigation was conducted by Special Agents from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Burke and Katherine Nielsen.


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