Man indicted for attempt to smuggle $3.2M of crystal meth

www.sfchronicle.com
Date:
Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Man indicted for attempt to smuggle $3.2M of crystal meth César Rodriguez , LMTonline.com / Laredo Morning Times Aug. 16, 2019 1of16 Photo: Marilyn Nieves/Getty Images/Vetta 2of16 Click through the gallery to see the biggest drug busts at the Texas-Mexico border. Photo: LMTonline 3of16 January was a busy month for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agents. The first two busts came back-to-back on Jan. 13 at the World Trade Bridge connecting Laredo, Mexico to Nuevo Laredo Tamaulipas. There, officers found 2,211 pounds of marijuana hidden inside a commercial scrap metal shipment. Hours later, they found another 1,496 pounds hidden inside a tractor trailer.  The marijuana combined weighed nearly two tons and was worth an estimated $741,363.Further down the Texas-Mexico border, agents found 138.4 pounds of methamphetamine at the Progreso Port of Entry, valued at $2.76 million on Jan. 16. The next day at the same port of entry, agents stopped a man driving a Honda and found 75 pounds of heroin ($1.7 million street value) and 15 pounds of cocaine ($114,920 street value).  Photo: US Customs Border Protection 4of16 Agents with the Zapata Station Marine Unit came across a suspicious boat and a white truck near one of the landings at Falcon Lake on Nov. 28. The driver got into the boat and agents found 913 pounds of marijuana in the truck, with an estimated street value of $729,868.On Nov. 30, agents at the Zapata Station found abandoned bundles of marijuana just north of Zapata. A total of 24 bundles were seized, weighing 541 pounds. It had an estimated street value of $432,896. Photo: Courtesy /Border Patrol 5of16 A 19-year-old mother from Brownsville disqualified herself for the mother-of-the-year award after allegedly hiding methamphetamine under her child's clothing. Agents found 7.1 pounds of meth with an estimated street value of $141,976 after searching her at the Brownsville Port of Entry on Aug. 3.  Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection 6of16 That horse shampoo wasn't fooling Border Protection canine units. The patrol dogs alerted agents to the liquid methamphetamine on July 24, when two people in a Jeep Wrangler tried to cross the Texas-Mexico border at Eagle Cross. Agents seized 69 pounds of liquid meth, which had an estimated street value of $662,400. The driver and the passenger were arrested.  7of16 Here's some produce you won't find at the grocery store. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found nearly $5 million worth of methamphetamine when they searched two trucks on June 30. One truck was hauling jalapeños and the other was hauling cucumbers. The drivers were stopped at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility, about 10 miles south of McAllen. Officers found 240 packages of meth in the truck carrying jalapeños, weighing about 132 pounds. The street value of the drugs was about $2.65 million.In the truck hauling cucumbers, officers found 194 packages of meth, weighing about 107 pounds. The street value of those narcotics was about $2.14 million. 8of16 Jalapeños and cucumbers aren't the only produce of choice for smuggling drugs. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found 4,064 pounds of marijuana hidden in 528 boxes of limes on Aug. 5. The suspected narcotics were discovered when a white freightliner tractor carrying limes was inspected at the Pharr International Bridge on the Rio Grande River. The limes, like other food recovered by agents in smuggling operations, was donated to a food bank. Photo: Courtesy/U.S. Customs and Border Protection 9of16 An alert from Customs and Border Protection's canine unit and an x-ray led agents to the discovery of almost 300 pounds of marijuana hidden inside the frame of a trailer trying to cross the border on April 22. The total 283 pounds of marijuana was found at the Presidio port of entry in west Texas. Officers drilled into a rail of the trailer towed by a 2005 Dodge pickup, finding 273 bundles.  Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection 10of16 If real limes won't do the trick, you can bet that packages that look like limes won't work either. But alas, some dealers thought Texas border agents wouldn't notice if they wrapped 2,575 pounds of marijuana in paper that resembled the citrus fruit. It didn't work.Officers ended up seizing 515 packages of marijuana, which have an estimated street value of $515,000, on Jan. 15 at the Pharr International Bridge.  Photo: CBP/courtesy 11of16 Perhaps the most creative drug smuggling attempt across the Texas-Mexico border this year, border agents found marijuana hidden in carrot-shaped packages. The smugglers even put the marijuana-filled carrots in a big rig with real carrots. It wasn't enough to stop agents however, who found 2,817 packages of marijuana, for an estimated street value of $500,000 on Jan. 10 at the Pharr International Bridge cargo facility.  Photo: CBP/courtesy 12of16 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers weren't fooled by the hard shells of coconuts. On May 9, agents found nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana inside of the coconuts after inspecting a large tractor and trailer at the Pharr International Bridge.  Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection 13of16 Smugglers at least try to keep marijuana with healthy foods, right?U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Pharr found 766 pounds of marijuana in a shipment of fresh broccoli on March 22. The drugs were seized and valued at $153.000. 14of16 These smugglers may have gotten the word that vegetables won't hide narcotics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. Switching tactics, a truck entering from Juarez on Jan. 21 was found with 288 marijuana-filled bundles inside a shipment of roofing shingles. The narcotics seized at the El Paso port of entry had a street value of $763,200.  Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection 15of16 Some smugglers will do everything they can to get away from authorities. Case in point: the "reckless smuggler" U.S. Customs and Border Protection say he drove his truck into the Rio Grande River on Oct. 26. The agency said the driver floated the truck across the river and into Mexico. Once the truck crossed, the driver fled while people picked up bundles from the pickup bed truck. A border patrol dive team eventually removed the truck from the river, recovering seven bundles of marijuana from inside the cab of the truck. 

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