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Press Release

Mexican Truck Driver Pleads Guilty to Importing Drugs in Avocados

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

LAREDO, Texas – A 44-year old truck driver from Michoacan, Mexico, has entered a guilty plea for conspiring to import methamphetamine and cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

On March 12, 2013, Carlos Gaona-Zaragoza attempted entry at the Colombia Solidarity Bridge in Laredo driving a tractor-trailer. He presented his Border Crossing Card and said he was hauling a load of avocados.

He was referred to secondary inspection, at which time authorities conducted an x-ray examination and soon discovered anomalies in a spare tire located underneath the trailer. A drug detection dog also alerted to the possible presence of a narcotic odor emitting from the tire.

Further inspection of the tire revealed a total of 41 bundles, 40 of which field-tested positive for methamphetamine with a total gross weight of 41.56 kilograms. One contained cocaine with a weight of 1.12 kilograms.

Gaona-Zaragoza initially claimed he transported the narcotics under threat of harm to his family. However, he later admitted he had agreed to transport the narcotics for 15,000 Mexican pesos.

Sentencing will be set at a later date before U.S. District Judge Diana Saldaña.

Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Bukiewicz is prosecuting the case.

Updated May 30, 2019

Drug Trafficking