LAREDO, Texas – A 46-year-old Pharr man has entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1.42 kilograms of meth, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
On Feb. 8, Eduardo Maldonado applied for entry into the United States from Mexico at the Lincoln-Juarez bridge port of entry in Laredo as a passenger on a commercial bus. During a routine X-ray examination of luggage and other items on the bus, authorities noted anomalies in a cardboard box belonging to Maldonado. A K-9 unit also positively alerted to the presence of contraband. A subsequent physical search revealed nine packages which tested positive for cocaine, meth and heroin.
Law enforcement weighed the narcotics and determined the packages contained 1.42, 2.04 and 4.16 kilograms of meth, heroin and cocaine, respectively. The collective street value of the drugs was approximately $162,820.
Maldonado admitted he was at a bar in Mexico with his girlfriend when he met a man who offered him $3,000 to transport the box to Birmingham, Alabama. He was to give it to someone waiting for him at the bus stop. The man paid for Maldonado’s bus ticket.
Maldonado claimed he did not know what was in the box and did not check, but admitted he knew “something” was in it based on the amount of money he was to be paid. He further acknowledged he did not ask the man many questions about the box.
U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo accepted the plea and set sentencing for Aug. 2. At that time, Maldonado faces up to life in prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine. He has been and will remain in custody pending that hearing.
Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul A. Harrison is prosecuting the case.
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