March 22, 2014
SALTON CITY – Thirty-one pounds of meth seized
Border Patrol agents seized more than $200,000 worth of methamphetamine and arrested two suspected narcotics smugglers on Wednesday.
Around 1:30 p.m., Rosa Amelia Moreno-Maldonado, 43, approached the Highway 86 checkpoint driving a white Ford 500 sedan with Perfecto Javier Rios-Hernandez, 46, as a passenger and their two minor children, according to the court complaint.
The vehicle and passengers were referred to secondary for further inspection, and there a detector dog alerted to the vehicle’s undercarriage.
Agents then found 26 wrapped bundles of methamphetamine hidden in an non-factory compartment.
The packages contained a total of 31.73 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $206,245.
Moreno-Maldonado was advised of her rights and said she didn’t know there were drugs in the vehicle and that the vehicle had been at the mechanic for a week, according to the complaint.
Rios-Hernandez was advised of his rights and said the family had been picked up by a man known as “El Pony” that morning and taken to a shopping center where they got the vehicle.
He said he knew that there were narcotics in the vehicle and that his wife didn’t know.
He also said that he was to be paid $2,000, according to the complaint. Agents then again questioned Moreno-Maldonado, “Who is El Pony?” and she replied that she didn’t know. She was then asked why El Pony was calling both her telephone and her husband’s telephone, and she responded that she didn’t know, according to the complaint.
The suspected smugglers, both legally admitted Mexican citizens, were taken into custody while the children, vehicle and narcotics were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for further investigation.