EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A convicted drug smuggler from Chula Vista, California, was sentenced Thursday to nearly six years in federal prison for transporting 11 pounds of crystal methamphetamine to Fairview Heights, Illinois.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Illinois said Luis Aguilar-Caldera, 31, previously pleaded guilty to one count of manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess a controlled substance.

According to court documents, an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration notified authorities of a May 2021 meth deal involving a Mexico-based supplier.

The informant met Aguilar-Caldera and another man at the Flying J truck stop in Alorton, Illinois. The two men were in a Ford F-150 truck towing a lawn mower on a trailer. Aguilar-Caldera told the informant there were 11 pounds of meth hidden in the tires on the lawn mower.

The DEA conducted a traffic stop while the informant and two men were driving to a mechanic to remove the tires and retrieve the meth.

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Aguilar-Caldera to 70 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

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Meanwhile, Aguilar-Caldera’s co-defendant, Leonardo Andrews Hernandez, 49, was also charged with manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess a controlled substance. He is awaiting trial.