Federal agents on Thursday made a major drug bust in San Juan, seizing large quantities of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Richard Sanchez, Drug Enforcement Administration assistant special agent in charge for the McAllen Division, said agents, along with the San Juan Police Department and other local, state and federal partners, discovered the narcotics in a trailer at 700 west Business 83 Lot 104 during a consensual search at approximately 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Damian Duran, born in 1997, is charged with possession with the intent to distribute 378 pounds of marijuana, 16.5 pounds of methamphetamine and 89 pounds of cocaine, court records show.
Duran’s arrest stems from a DEA investigation that began in the summer of 2020 into a drug trafficking organization operating in McAllen, which led authorities to a suspected drug stash house in Pharr, according to a complaint.
The investigation also involved task force officers who are assigned to these types of investigations by Hidalgo County law enforcement agencies.
On Thursday, the DEA, along with Homeland Security Investigation agents and task force officers, conducted surveillance on the stash house and observed an older model Chevrolet Silverado driving in tandem with a white Mercedes C960 to the trailer in San Juan, the complaint said.
HSI agents say they watched as Duran exited the Mercedes and retrieved a bag from the trunk before walking inside the trailer.
The agents and task force officers maintained surveillance on the trailer as Duran left the location, according to the complaint, which stated that when Duran returned a short time later, they approached him and asked for consent to search the trailer.
According to federal authorities, Duran provided the agents and task force officers written consent to search.
“Agents and (task force officers) walked into the trailer and detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the living room area. Duran admitted to there being thirty (30) kilograms of cocaine inside one of the rooms. When Duran opened the door to agents and (task force officers), agents and (task force officers) observed several large rectangular bundles of marijuana, smaller bundles wrapped in gray duct tape, and several vacuumed sealed bags with a white crystal like substance inside a cardboard box,” the complaint stated.
Authorities transported the narcotics to DEA headquarters in McAllen, where the drugs tested positive for marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, according to the complaint.
Duran was temporarily being held without bond pending probable cause and detention hearings scheduled for next week, records show.