Feds decline to prosecute man caught with 700 pounds of marijuana
By ALBERTO TOMAS HALPERN
PRESIDIO COUNTY – The case against a man caught with more than 700 pounds of marijuana won’t be prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Alpine.
Luis Raul Trevizo-Loya was apprehended at the Border Patrol checkpoint south of Marfa on Thursday, September 25 after a canine unit alerted to a concealed substance in the vehicle Trevizo-Loya was driving, according to the criminal complaint.
After being referred to the secondary inspection area, agents “noticed that the bottom of the truck’s undercarriage appeared to have been freshly sprayed with mud,” the complaint states. Agents “also noticed that the bolts holding the gas tank showed signs of recent removal and tampering,” the report goes on to say.
An aftermarket metal container was located under the bed of the truck, which contained a green, leafy substance “that later field tested positive for the properties and characteristics of marijuana,” according to the magistrate court document, and Trevizo-Loya was placed under arrest.
“A total of 10 metal containers were removed from the aftermarket compartment. The marijuana was found to weigh a total of 706.6 pounds,” the complaint states.
The complaint states that during the inspection, Trevizo-Loya told agents he was driving to Dallas to pick up equipment for his boss, but didn’t know what kind of equipment nor a location in Dallas. He also stated that the truck did not belong to him, rather that it was the property of his boss. Asked again where he was travelling to, Trevizo-Loya “recanted his previous statement and said that he was going to Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
After being asked by a Border Patrol agent to search his cell phone, “Trevizo-Loya then removed his cell phone from his front shirt pocket. (He) had the phone disassembled and began placing what appeared to be the phone’s battery back into the phone. It has been the agent’s experience with smugglers that they will attempt to break their cell phones or remove the SIM card so that law enforcement officers cannot find incriminating text messages or phone numbers in their phone,” states the complaint.
Jay Miller, the Chief Assistant United States Attorney in Alpine, said his prosecutor didn’t believe he would have the ability to successfully prosecute Trevizo-Loya at this point.
“When we charged him, we knew there were hurdles,” Miller said, adding that of four key elements to the case, one, knowledge of the drugs, was becoming difficult to prove.
“We don’t know if we can prove that at this time,” whether Trevizo-Loya was knowingly smuggling the narcotics in the truck he was driving. “The question is did he have knowledge?”
Miller added that the case was dismissed “without prejudice,” and that if more evidence is produced, the case could be reopened.
Story filed under: Top Stories