EAST ST. LOUIS — A U.S. District judge for Southern Illinois sentenced a 28-year-old Texas man to nearly five years in federal prison after he admitted to transporting a kilogram of cocaine to Illinois.

In addition to the prison sentence, Henry Garcia-Blanco, of Irving, Texas, will serve three years of supervised release.

In late 2021, DEA agents began an investigation after learning significant quantities of cocaine were being transported from Texas, through Illinois, and on to St. Louis, Missouri.

On Dec. 10, 2021, a confidential source informed agents a drug courier was stuck in Effingham, Illinois. The courier was identified as Garcia-Blanco, and the agents arranged a ride to facilitate his travel.

Law enforcement conducted a traffic stop of the truck and identified the defendant as a passenger. Upon questioning from law enforcement, a positive alert from a trained narcotics K-9 and a subsequent search of the vehicle, officers located a vacuum-sealed brick of what was later confirmed by laboratory testing to be just over a kilo of cocaine. Garcia-Blanco admitted that he was transporting the cocaine from Texas.