Trafficker sent to prison for smuggling cocaine in tractor trailer differential

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – A 28-year-old San Benito resident has been ordered to federal prison after being convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to do so, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

A federal jury convicted Baltazar Reyes-Herrera Jan. 20, following a two-day-trial and approximately seven hours of deliberation.

Today, U.S. District Judge Fernando Rodriguez Jr. ordered Reyes-Herrera to serve 100 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by four years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence that Reyes-Herrera was taking 18 bundles of cocaine to Mississippi for payment of $10,000 and bringing the currency back for the sale of the 19.52 kilograms of cocaine. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the amount of cocaine and the harm it brings to individuals in the United States.

On Oct. 19, 2020, Reyes-Herrera arrived at the Sarita checkpoint close to midnight driving a tractor trailer. He told authorities he was driving to Houston to pick up a truck from an auction. Following a K-9 alert, law enforcement crawled underneath the tractor and observed handprints on the bolts that hold the rear differential in place. Reyes-Herrera denied knowledge of the 18 bundles of cocaine concealed in the hollow differential.

The estimated street value of the drugs is $500,000.

According to evidenced present at trial, Reyes-Herrera purchased truck insurance two hours prior to arriving at the checkpoint. He did not have valid travel logs for the trip and did not possess a valid commercial license.

Reyes-Herrera will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in

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