U.S. Prosecutors Unexpectedly Drop Drug Charges Against Mexican Trucker In Huge Bust
Mariposa County, Arizona – The truck driver charged in connection to the 3rd largest drug seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the Mariposa entry is walking free after prosecutors moved to drop all charges.
Federal prosecutors asked Judge James A. Soto of U.S. District Court in Tucson to formally dismiss the 8-count indictment of charges against a a 65-year-old Mexican national truck driver who attempted to enter the U.S. with a tractor-trailer full of illegal drugs. Judge Soto dismissed the charges without prejudice, meaning the charges can be brought again.
According to court records, the truck driver tried to enter the United States on July 7, 2018, while driving a 1998 Freightliner truck with an attached trailer. A U.S. CBP officer put the tractor-trailer through an X-ray machine and noticed anomalies in the bottom of the trailer, so it was sent to a dock to offload the avocado shipment.
A second scan also revealed anomalies, so authorities drilled holes in the trailer’s floor and inserted a fiberoptic scope, with which they detected a stash of packages. A drug-sniffing dog alerted authorities to the presence of narcotics and officers subsequently uncovered more than 364 pounds of methamphetamine, worth almost $1.1 million, CBP said in a news release at the time.
In addition, the officers found six pounds of heroin, worth more than $100,000; almost seven pounds of fentanyl, valued at more than $95,000; and 6,000 suspected Oxycodone pills, with a value of nearly $113,000.
According to the criminal complaint filed on July 9, 2018, the driver denied having knowledge of any drugs in the trailer. U.S. prosecutors Rui Wang and Jackson Stephens did not state a reason for their decision to ask for charges to be dropped.
Photo courtesy of CBP