McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Two South Texas men whom Justice Department officials say have ties to the Cartel Del Noreste have been sentenced to 14 and 15 years in prison on drug trafficking convictions.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo of the Southern District of Texas, sentenced Bonifacio Turrubiates, 48, of Laredo, to 188 months in prison. Dionicio Sanchez, 46, of Houston, was sentenced to 168 months in prison.

Both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 34.5 kilograms of liquid methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery announced.

In handing down the prison terms in the Laredo court, Judge Marmolejo noted that they were both “lucky” not to receive life sentences.

Evidence presented during the court hearing indicated both men “had a lengthy criminal history of drug trafficking,” the Justice Department said.

They were arrested after their vehicle was seized April 28, 2020, in the parking lot of a grocery store in Laredo, where authorities said they discovered liquid meth hidden inside multiple fire extinguishers.

Justice Department officials said an investigation — by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Webb County Sheriff’s Office — revealed the drugs were affiliated with the Mexican transnational criminal organization Cartel Del Noreste.

Both pleaded guilty and they must also serve five years of supervised release following the completion of their sentences.