GULFPORT, Miss. — A pair of Texas newlyweds found traveling through Mississippi with two children and about 35 pounds of cocaine have been sentenced to prison.

Ramiro Hernandez, 36, was sentenced Thursday in Gulfport to 16 years and eight months in prison for conspiring to distribute cocaine, the Sun Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2cFhxIF). Judith Noriega Hernandez, 33, received a six-year prison term after pleading guilty to the same charge in June.

The couple had been married four months when a state trooper pulled them over March 19 on Interstate 10 near Pascagoula. A state trooper said he stopped the SUV after he saw two unrestrained children in the backseat.

A vehicle search yielded a heavily wrapped package containing cocaine, court records show. It is unclear what prompted authorities to search the SUV. The children, two of the wife’s four children, were taken into protective custody.

In a letter to the judge, Judith Hernandez said she had been serving as an interpreter for Hispanic women she was incarcerated with. She said she feels there’s a better purpose for her life.

“I know God intervened to stop me from a road of self-destruction,” she wrote. “I’ve met God.”


Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com