Man arrested at Hidalgo bridge with 72 pounds of cocaine

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A Mexican citizen and visa holder was arrested at the Hidalgo port of entry after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered 29 cellophane packages containing cocaine inside his vehicle, according to a criminal complaint.

Edhel Oswaldo Rodriguez-Ramirez was charged with illegal importation of a controlled substance and conspiracy to illegally import a controlled substance.

On Sunday, Homeland Security Investigations in McAllen received a request for investigative assistance from CBP officers after detaining Rodriguez-Ramirez.

He was detained after being referred to a secondary inspection where his vehicle was X-rayed, revealing anomalies inside the fuel tank.

“A physical search of the vehicle was conducted and 29 cellophane and vacuum sealed packages, weighing approximately [over 72 pounds], were discovered concealed within the fuel tank of the vehicle,” the complaint said.

A field test of the substance inside the packages tested presumptively positive for the properties and characteristics of cocaine.

In an interview with authorities, Rodriguez-Ramirez stated he was hired by an unknown person in Mexico to transport drugs into the U.S.

Rodriguez-Ramirez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Juan F. Alanis for his initial appearance Monday.