TEXAS – The federal government didn’t offer a reward for the capture of Houston grandmother Elisa Castillo, nor did it accuse her of touching drugs, ordering killings or getting rich off crime.
But three years after a jury convicted her in a conspiracy to smuggle at least a ton of cocaine on tour buses from Mexico to Houston, the 56-year-old first-time offender is locked up for life, without the possibility of parole.
Three years ago, Elisa Castillo entered into an unusual business arrangement at the urging of her boyfriend: a Mexican businessman agreed to partner with her to purchase three tour buses that would travel between Mexico and Houston. He fronted the money for the buses, but they were kept in her name. Castillo claims she was unaware the buses were also fitted with secret compartments enabling them to smuggle cocaine across the border, but she was convicted nonetheless.