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Press Release

Trafficker admits to smuggling $1.5M worth cocaine in produce boxes

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

McALLEN, Texas – A 50-year-old Mexican resident has pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute 88.5 kilograms of cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

On Nov. 13, 2022, Faustino Perez Luna was driving a tractor trailer loaded with cocaine. The drugs were the priority load of a known drug trafficking organization.

Luna approached the Falfurrias checkpoint and claimed to be headed to Atlanta to drop a load of produce. However, a K-9 soon alerted to the presence of narcotics within the vehicle. Authorities referred him to secondary inspection where they discovered the cocaine concealed between produce boxes on the tractor trailer.

The drugs weighed approximately 88.5 kilograms with an estimated street value of $1.5 million.

From March 2022 to Nov. 13, 2022, law enforcement arrested several others in connection with this drug trafficking organization. It operated in the lower Rio Grande Valley transporting either narcotics, guns or money.

The investigation led to the discovery of the priority load – the 88.5 kilograms Luna had transported. It was intended for Atlanta, Georgia.

U.S. District Judge Randy Crane will impose sentencing for Luna Aug. 10. At that time, Luna faces up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.

Luna has been and will remain in custody pending sentencing.

Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation with the assistance of Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric D. Flores is prosecuting the case.

Updated May 23, 2023

Drug Trafficking