Trusted traveler busted with cocaine at Hidalgo International Bridge

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CBP seized nearly seven pounds of cocaine at the Hidalgo International Bridge on Nov. 4, 2023. (Courtesy: CBP)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Saturday said it intercepted $91,800 in cocaine concealed in a woman’s purse and strapped to her body at the Hidalgo International Bridge.

A criminal complaint filed against Jillian Alondra Ruiz, 20, said CBP discovered two bricks of cocaine strapped to her body and another brick in her purse.

“During secondary inspection, (CBP) discovered a black-taped bundle inside of Ruiz’s purse,” the complaint stated. “(CBP) conducted a canine open-air sniff search that yielded an alert on the black-taped bundle found within Ruiz’s purse. Ruiz admitted to (CBP) that she had additional bundles strapped on her body.”

In all, the cocaine weighed nearly seven pounds.

In a news release, Port Director Carlos Rodriguez indicated Ruiz was in the Trusted Traveler Program lane, which allows vetted persons to enter the country faster as they have been deemed low risk.

“They are still subject for inspection and our diligent officers are always on the lookout for narcotics and other prohibited items,” Rodriguez said in the release. “Our ability to filter out smugglers from legitimate travelers is paramount to securing our border.”

Ruiz made a first appearance in McAllen federal court on Monday in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Nadia S. Medrano, who ordered her temporarily held without bond.

She is scheduled for a detention hearing on Thursday afternoon.