McALLEN Ruben Vargas-Ocampo, 35, a Mexican national, was found guilty today by a McAllen jury of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute in excess of 100 kilograms of marijuana, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced Wednesday.

The verdict was returned this afternoon after approximately 30 minutes of deliberation and following a day and a half of trial presided over by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez. During trial, the United States presented evidence that Vargas drove a truck loaded with 430 kilograms of marijuana from the Rio Grande River further north into the United States around 5:00 p.m. on July 12, 2011.

While conducting surveillance along the Rio Grande River near La Rosita, Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine agents observed a truck loaded with marijuana driving north from the river. Vargas bailed out of the vehicle as Border Patrol agents approached. Vargas was apprehended after a short foot pursuit.

After the guilty verdict was returned, Judge Alvarez scheduled Vargas's sentencing for Dec. 15, 2011, at 9:00 a.m., at which time he will face no less than five years and up to 40 years imprisonment on each count of conviction. Vargas has been in custody since his arrest and will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending sentencing.

Assistant United States Attorneys Kristen Rees and Jason Honeycutt prosecuted the case.