MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A 26-year-old Corpus Christi man was ordered to federal prison following his conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute meth.

Gabriel Anthony Pena pleaded guilty Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Texas.

Pena was sentenced to serve just over 21 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. According to the USAO’s news release, the court found that Pena’s role was that of an organizer or leader, as he had recruited another to transport narcotics from the Rio Grande Valley to Corpus Christi.

The court noted the extent and lengthy duration of the scheme which involved at least 61 pounds of meth seized over the course of multiple incidents, two of which involved the presence of a firearm, the release stated.

On Thursday, Pena also admitted to coordinating multiple smuggling attempts by recruiting co-conspirators to transport narcotics from the southern border to the Corpus Christi area between March and June 2021, the USAO stated.

In March 2021, one of Pena’s co-conspirators attempted to pass through the Falfurrias checkpoint with just below 53 pounds of meth hidden between the frame and taillights of a Volkswagen Tiguan, prosecutors said.

At that time, the narcotics were seized by authorities who later determined that she had been recruited by Pena, the USAO stated.

Pena was stopped in April and June of 2021 in Corpus Christi where he was in possession of over 400 grams of narcotics along with a firearm, the release stated.

Authorities then executed a search warrant for Pena and discovered over 3 pounds of meth, the USAO said.