A Pharr man was allegedly caught attempting to smuggle more than 15 kilos of heroin into the country Monday by hiding it in the vehicle’s interior, records show.
He made his initial appearance before a federal magistrate judge Tuesday morning, records show.
Victor Manuel Gomez made his appearance Tuesday before a federal judge in connection with drug smuggling charges related to his arrest at a port of entry Monday, May 3, the criminal complaint against Gomez stated.
On Monday, Gomez arrived at the inbound lane at the Hidalgo Port of Entry attempting to enter the U.S.
After the initial screening, U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers referred Gomez for a secondary inspection.
During the screening, Gomez allegedly told CBP officers he was in Mexico visiting family in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico — and now headed into the U.S. to return to his home in Pharr.
“During secondary inspection, CBPOs obtained a negative oral declaration for fruits, food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, weapons, and currency over $10,000 from Gomez,” the document stated. “A CBP K-9 narcotics detection team conducted a free air inspection which resulted in a positive alert for the odor of controlled substance emanating from the vehicle’s undercarriage.”
An X-ray inspection scan was conducted on the vehicle and officers discovered anomalies near the driveshaft, the documents state.
During the physical search of the vehicle, law enforcement discovered a total of 15 packages containing heroin. The packages were later weighed and totaled 15.3 kilograms, the record shows.
Gomez subsequently was arrested and interviewed by Homeland Security Investigations agents about the attempted smuggle event.
During the interview, Gomez allegedly admitted to knowing there were illegal narcotics inside the vehicle.
“Gomez admitted that he was to be paid ($4,000 USD) from an unknown person in Mexico to cross the vehicle into the U.S.,” the criminal complaint stated.
If convicted, the 31-year-old Pharr man faces up to 10 years in prison, records show.