BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A Houston woman was found guilty of her role in assisting several family members who were part of a drug trafficking organization, the United States Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Brenda Banessa Leal, 33, was convicted on one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 11 pounds of cocaine and one count of possession with intent to distribute, authorities said.

A Family Affair

During her trial, evidence revealed that since 2018, Leal has assisted her family in drug trafficking. Her role consisted of helping to transport narcotics, mainly cocaine, from Mexico to Laredo and the Rio Grande Valley, the district attorney’s office said.

She also assisted family members in transporting bulk cash money, ammunition and weapons to Mexico, the release stated.

Evidence from Leal’s text and WhatsApp messages between co-conspirators, jail call recordings as well as videos detailing Leal’s criminal actions revealed that between February and June 2021, Leal was the logistics coordinator of the drug trafficking organization.

Her role as “logistics coordinator” consisted of communicating with drivers and dealers and covering loads on this side of the border.

The Bust

In June 2021, while preparing to unload a tractor truck that contained 72 pounds of cocaine, Leal’s organization got robbed by another drug trafficking organization. The group that stole the drugs was apprehended shortly after and was traced back to Leal, according to federal authorities.

“The defense attempted to convince the judge that Leal did not have knowledge of the cocaine that was hidden in the tractor trailer and was simply a victim of the ‘rip crew.’ Judge Olvera did not believe those claims and found Leal guilty as charged,” the release stated.