Mission man arrested for trying to smuggle nearly 20K of meth

Sign indicating Hidalgo Port of Entry (Courtesy: CBP)

A Mission man who allegedly tried to conceal nearly 20 kilos inside the vehicle he was driving into the country on Saturday made his initial appearance in federal court Monday, records show.

According to a criminal complaint against him, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recognized Jose Javier Zorrilla, 23, as he approached the Hidalgo Port of Entry with a dog in tow.

“(A CBP) officer saw the driver and vehicle in line and remembered both from a prior encounter that records show occurred on April 18, 2021,” the complaint stated.

During that previous encounter, officers found an empty, non-factory compartment in the middle console area of Zorrilla’s vehicle during a secondary inspection.

On Saturday, a CBP K-9 handler and a detection dog tried to search the vehicle, but they were unable to do so because Zorrilla’s dog began to bark as they approached.

Zorrilla was subsequently referred to secondary inspection for a more thorough search.

During the search, officers discovered 16 packages that contained a little more than 18 kilos of methamphetamine concealed within the center console, the record shows.

Additionally, CBP officers found one roll of black duct tape and one roll of vacuum seal food storage bags, the document shows.

After the discovery, Zorrilla spoke with authorities and, according to the document, gave inconsistent statements about where he was coming from and how long he had been staying in Mexico.

Zorrilla faces drug smuggling charges and could face up to 10 years in federal prison, records show.