By Brad Kellar

Herald-Banner Staff

A South Texas woman has been sentenced to prison for possessing almost 50 pounds of marijuana in Hunt County in April.

Iselda Pena, 38, Weslaco, entered a plea of guilty Thursday to one count of possession of between five and 50 pounds of marijuana during a hearing in the 196th District Court. Under a plea bargain arrangement, Pena was sentenced to seven years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division.

Greenville Police Department Officer Robert Pemberton was contacted on the night of April 22 by the Royse City Police Department to assist with a traffic stop near the 83 mile marker along eastbound Interstate 30.

A 1991 Dodge Caravan with Iowa license plates had been stopped for a traffic violation and the two occupants of the vehicle, Pena, who was driving, and 46-year-old Antonio Lerma from Donna had given permission for a search.

Officers discovered fresh tooling marks on the gas tank. Greenville’s K-9 Ceiko gave a positive alert for the odor of drugs.

The vehicle was towed to the Greenville Police Department and placed onto the vehicle lift, where additional tooling marks were found. The tank was dropped and 42 vacuum-sealed one-pound packs of suspected marijuana, weighing approximately 48 pounds, were discovered.

Pena was facing a maximum sentence on the third-degree felony charge of from two to 10 years in prison and an optional fine of up to $10,000.

Lerma has pleaded not guilty to his indictment and has an interim hearing scheduled for Aug. 10.

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