Man drives friend’s truck to Falfurrias checkpoint; arrested for cocaine trafficking

A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent and K-9 security dog keep watch at a checkpoint station, Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in Falfurrias. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

A man was arrested Thursday after Border Patrol agents found a little over 12 pounds of cocaine inside his vehicle, which he says he bought from his friend and is still making payments on, according to a criminal complaint.

Juan Pablo Ramirez is charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

According to the complaint, Ramirez arrived at the Falfurrias checkpoint at about 9:55 p.m. in a white 2015 GMC Sierra and stopped at the primary inspection lane holding his United States of America passport toward an agent.

The agent noticed that Ramirez’s hands were “jittery” and asked him where was going, to which Ramirez responded with Houston and stated he lived there.

Ramirez told the agent that he was in Mexico for two months visiting his dad but the agent noticed there wasn’t any luggage in the truck, so he asked Ramirez if he was willing to give consent to x-ray his vehicle which he agreed to.

Another agent observed several anomalies in the truck’s air bag compartment after examining the x-ray images.

“The vehicle was placed on the vehicle lift in order to conduct a more thorough inspection,” the complaint said.

Inside the compartment, agents found five bundles that revealed a white powdery substance that was later confirmed to be cocaine once agents utilized the Gemini narcotics tester.

The bundles weighed a little more than 12 pounds.

The following day, Ramirez admitted to investigators that he resides in Mexico and was in the process of purchasing the truck he was driving from a friend in Edinburg.

He stated that he paid $3,000 as a down payment but still owed him $7,000.

Ramirez added that his friend was holding on to the truck until he finished paying but allowed him to take it for a trip to Houston in order for Ramirez to visit his sister for about three weeks.

“Ramirez said the purpose of traveling to Houston was to retrieve the title of the truck, but didn’t know who had the title or where it was,” the complaint said.

Agents then informed Ramirez that there was an approximate $30,000 lien on the truck to which he stated that he was actually paying him that amount for the truck and that he wasn’t aware of the drugs in the vehicle.

According to the complaint, the street value of the cocaine found in the truck is estimated to be over $100,000.

Ramirez is set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Julie K. Hampton Thursday morning in Corpus Christi federal court for his preliminary examination and detention hearing.