Pharr man found with drugs while traveling in commercial bus 

A smuggling attempt of less than 2 kilograms of meth could lead to a heavy punishment for a local Rio Grande Valley man.

A Pharr man faces up to life in prison after he pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count in connection with drug smuggling allegations, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas.

The allegations are related to his arrest on Feb. 8 as he attempted to enter the country from Mexico.

According to court records, Eduardo Maldonado attempted to enter 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,” the release stated. “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.”

In all, the packages contained less than 1.5 kilograms of heroin, the release stated.

The Pharr man allegedly admitted to federal law enforcement that he was at a bar in Mexico with his girlfriend when he met a man who offered him $3,000 to transport a 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,” the release stated.

On March 9, Maldonado was formally indicted on several drug conspiracy charges. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On April 30, Maldonado agreed to plead guilty to count 1, records show.

On Tuesday, the court accepted Maldonado’s guilty plea and set his sentencing for early August.

If convicted of the first count, Maldonado faces up to 10 years in prison.


lzazueta@themonitor.com