EAST ST. LOUIS – A U.S. District judge sentenced a man from Texas to 57 months in federal prison after he admitted to transporting a kilogram of cocaine to Illinois. In addition to the prison sentence, Henry Garcia-Blanco, 28, of Irving, Texas, will serve three years of supervised release.

“Increased accessibility to illicit drugs creates significant health risks for communities in southern Illinois, and the individuals found responsible for transporting large quantities of dangerous narcotics across our state lines will face time in prison,” said U.S. Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe. “I appreciate the efforts by the DEA to investigate and arrest offenders and help improve public safety.”

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In late 2021, DEA agents began an investigation after learning significant quantities of cocaine were being transported from Texas, through Illinois, and on to St. Louis, Missouri. On Dec. 10, 2021, a confidential source informed agents a drug courier was stuck in Effingham, Illinois.

The courier was identified as Garcia-Blanco, and the agents arranged a ride to facilitate his travel. Law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of the truck and identified the defendant as a passenger. Upon questioning from law enforcement, a positive alert from a trained narcotics K-9 and a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers located a vacuum-sealed brick of what was later confirmed by laboratory testing to be just over a kilogram of cocaine.

Garcia-Blanco admitted that he was transporting the cocaine from Texas. DEA led the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel S. Carraway prosecuted the case.

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