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Press Release

Meth-loaded tires send Rio Grande City man to prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN, Texas – A 20-year-old man has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of importing 500 grams or more of meth, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery

Abiel Geronimo Fernandez pleaded guilty March 22.

Today, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez ordered Fernandez to serve 140 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard that Fernandez asked someone to hide marijuana and a firearm while he was waiting for trial. The court also saw pictures from his cell phone of narcotics and firearms. In one, he was taking a selfie while wearing body armor and holding a rifle. In other photos, there were kilogram quantities of narcotics indicating that this was not the first time he had transported large quantities of narcotics. In imposing the sentence, Judge Alvarez noted that Fernandez’s arrest for alien smuggling one day before his arrest on this matter was troubling.

On Nov. 28, 2021, Fernandez attempted to enter the United States from Mexico at the Rio Grande City Port of Entry while driving a Chevrolet Silverado. Authorities referred him to secondary inspection where they discovered anomalies in all four tires of the truck.

There were a total of 24 bricks of meth hidden within the tires. The total weight was approximately 59 kilograms with an estimated street value of $236,000.

As part of his plea, Fernandez admitted he was recruited the day before to smuggle three kilograms of meth into the country in exchange for $3,000.

He will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

Homeland Security Investigations and Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Colton Turner prosecuted the case.

Updated July 19, 2022

Drug Trafficking