Driver denies knowledge of nearly 101 pounds of cocaine found in semi

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. (Eric Gay/AP Photo)
Only have a minute? Listen instead
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

A Mexican national is under arrest after Border Patrol agents at the Falfurrias checkpoint found nearly 101 pounds of cocaine hidden in the tractor-trailer he was driving.

Javier Francisco Villalba-Reyes, who denies knowledge of the cocaine, is scheduled to make a first appearance Tuesday morning in Corpus Christi federal court on a charge of knowingly and intentionally possessing with the intent to distribute nearly 101 pounds of cocaine.

He was arrested last Thursday after arriving at the checkpoint at approximately 1:30 a.m.

“Villalba told the primary agent he was hauling a load of broccoli from McAllen, Texas to Indiana, and had been working as a truck driver for approximately one month,” the complaint stated. “The primary agent asked Villalba if he was responsible for the contents of the truck and trailer, and he stated he was responsible for all the contents.”

During the inspection, a service canine alerted to the driver’s side of the tractor and Villalba granted consent to search, according to the complaint, which said an x-ray revealed anomalies in the trailer.

“A physical search of the sleeper walls resulted in the discovery of forty (40) brown cellophane-wrapped bundles stacked inside the walls, with a cord attached to the bundles,” the complaint stated.

The bundles tested for cocaine, Villalba was detained and Homeland Security Investigations special agents responded to interview Villalba, who agreed to provide a statement without an attorney, according to the complaint.

“In his post-Miranda interview, Villalba claimed he had no knowledge of the narcotics hidden within the tractor,” the complaint stated.

He told agents he picked the tractor-trailer up off the side of a highway near Monterrey from an unknown man before entering the United States at the Roma port of entry at approximately 7 p.m. on May 21 with a load of peppers, according to the complaint.

“Villalba claimed he dropped off the peppers at Sweet Season, in McAllen, Texas,” the complaint stated.

After dropping off the peppers, Villalba said he drove to a truck stop located at Highway 281 near Monte Cristo Road and arrived there at approximately 12:30 a.m. on May 22.

“Villalba stated he stayed at the truck stop until departing for USAMEX Cold Solutions located in McAllen,” the complaint stated. “He stated the broccoli he was hauling was loaded at USAMEX Cold Solutions, and after the trailer was loaded, he departed for Indianapolis, Indiana.”

Investigators learned that when Villalba entered the country through the Roma port of entry, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers used an x-ray on his trailer and found no anomalies, according to the complaint.

“Border Patrol images of the same tractor from the non-intrusive x-ray conducted on May 23, 2024, revealed anomalies within the sleeper walls that depicted the stacked bundles of narcotics,” the complaint stated.