Pima man sentenced to 46 months for attempting to smuggle hard drugs into the country

Contributed Photo/Courtesy GCSO: Jesus Duarte was sentenced to 46 months in prison for attempting to smuggle hard drugs into the country from Mexico. He was already incarcerated locally on a separate aggravated assault charge.

Was already incarcerated for local aggravated assault

By Jon Johnson


TUCSON – Jesus Alfonzo Duarte, 22, of Pima, will spend the next few years behind bars. That is, once he finishes his sentence for aggravated assault.

Duarte was sentenced Wednesday to 46 months in prison by United States District Judge Rosemary Márquez for attempting to smuggle hard drugs into the U.S. from Mexico. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley B. Culver. Duarte was already incarcerated on a local aggravated assault case out of Thatcher.  

According to a Department of Justice press release, prior to sentencing Duarte previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import fentanyl, methamphetamine, and heroin. 

The charges stem from a March 29, 2020 incident when Duarte entered the United States at the DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Arizona, with more than 25 pounds of meth, five pounds of heroin, and two pounds of fentanyl hidden in his vehicle. 

After being taken into custody, Duarte told investigators that he was working for a known drug trafficker and had lent his vehicle to the trafficker prior to re-entering the United States. 

Upon Duarte’s release, he will be subject to five years of supervised probation. 

Duarte was already incarcerated for an incident outside of JD’s Corner Sports Bar & Grill at 2019 U..S. Highway 70 in Thatcher that occurred on Nov. 13, 2021, when Duarte reportedly brandished and fired a handgun during an altercation. 

According to victim accounts, Duarte pointed the handgun at a victim and an acquaintance of the victim grabbed the gun and forced it up into the air. At that time, Duarte fired a shot. 

Duarte then reportedly pointed the gun at numerous other people in the immediate vicinity before fleeing the scene with his wife and other women. 

On Feb. 8, Duarte plead guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced on March 8 to 2.5 years in prison.