Legal permanent resident admits to importing meth and fentanyl
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas
LAREDO, Texas – A 42-year-old man residing in Pearland has pleaded guilty to importing over 20 kilograms of meth and 900 grams of fentanyl, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
On June 24, Jose Luis Escareno attempted to enter the United States through the Juarez-Lincoln Port of Entry in Laredo. At that time, he was driving a pickup truck and pulling a trailer.
At inspection, he claimed ownership of everything inside the vehicle and trailer. Shortly after, law enforcement discovered narcotics hidden inside a mini split air conditioning unit located in the trailer and within a cooler in the truck. They were later determined to be 21.40 kilograms of meth and 8,500 pills of fentanyl weighing approximately 931 grams.
As part of his plea, Escareno claimed the air conditioning unit belonged to a friend who was going to pay him $150 to transport it to Houston. He further admitted he purchased and packed the coolers with contents that belonged to him.
U.S. District Judge Diana Saldana will impose sentencing at a later date. At that time, Escareno faces up to life in prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.
He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison is prosecuting the case.
Updated November 7, 2022