A 30-Year-Old Texas Man Is Accused of Smuggling Meth in Tacos: DOJ

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Getty The Department of Justice seal.

A Texas man named Nicolas Castro is accused of attempting to transport 1.26 kilograms (0.277 pounds) of meth into the United States, according to a press release from the Southern District of Texas.

Castro, 30, was charged on September 8 and accused of bringing the tacos while crossing the U.S. border near the Americas Bridge in Laredo, Texas, the press release stated. A grand jury recently returned a two-count indictment against Castro accusing him of conspiracy to import meth.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Bajew.


A K-9 Unit First Alerted Law Enforcement to the Drugs

According to court documents, Castro showed up as a pedestrian at the Texas Gateway to the Americas Bridge #1 at 8:16 a.m. He said that he was attempting to apply for U.S. citizenship. As Customs and Border Patrol officers went through Castro’s belongings, they found “lunch tacos and chips” as part of his lunch. Here is more from the original criminal complaint:

While inspecting the plastic bag, CBP Officers noticed 4 individual bundles that appeared to be tacos wrapped in saran wrap. CBP Officer noticed that the 4 bundles felt heavy and hard. A K-9 inspection was conducted on the belongings and the K-9 alerted to the trained odor of narcotics within the belongings. Further inspection of the bundles revealed that they tested positive for methamphetamine. The bundles weighed approximately 1.26 kilograms.

Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force Officers interviewed Castro, and according to court documents, Castro “claimed ownership of the bag that contained the 1.26 kilograms of methamphetamine.” He told officers that it was his second time using breakfast tacos to transport drugs and believed he was going to be paid $1,500 to transport the drugs to Austin, Texas.

Castro is being held at the Rio Grande Detention Center.


Smuggling Has Gotten More Creative Since the Pandemic

The DEA reported that drug smugglers have become more creative during the coronavirus pandemic in attempting to transport narcotics across the border. According to a San Antonio Fox News station, chemists have begun mixing methamphetamines with gasoline and smuggling it into the country only to boil the solvents off and sell the remaining crystal shards of meth.

In July, a 22-year-old was accused of smuggling 90 pounds of meth in his Chevy Malibu, according to Border Report. Caught at the U.S. border, dogs alerted to the meth which was hidden in the vehicle’s quarter panels and rear bumper containing $325,000 in methamphetamines.

Local news station KVIA reported that in August, an 18-year-old attempting to walk from Mexico into America tried to cross the border with 150 pounds of liquid meth disguised as three cases of bottled water. According to the station, the cases were flagged and a dog alerted to the water.

“Cartels are constantly finding new and innovative ways to smuggle not only illegal immigrants, but also drugs. […] We saw a precipitous drop in March but they changed their tactics and procedures quickly and are right back on top,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan said, according to Border Patrol.

The station also reported that DEA agents have found that methamphetamine has increased in volume, attempts to bring into the country and price during the pandemic. According to Border Report the amounts are nearly double.

Four hundred pounds of methamphetamine were seized in Phoenix in August, Tucson news station KGUN-9 reported. The station also reported that smugglers were attempting to traffic the trug on Native American lands where, in many cases, only the federal government has criminal authority.

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