McALLEN — Federal authorities arrested two Houston men accused of trying to drive a Mitsubishi Endeavor with almost 62 pounds of methamphetamines and more than 21 pounds of cocaine across the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.
The men claimed to have been partying with others in various Mexican cities.
Wednesday morning, 20-year-olds Justin Distefano and Marcus Andrew Machado went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos, who ordered they be held without bond pending a detention hearing next week.
Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested the two men Tuesday after sending their minivan to a secondary inspection at the international bridge.
During the secondary inspection, a scan of the vehicle led officers to secret compartments under the floorboard of the vehicle, where they found 11 cocaine bundles and four methamphetamine bricks, said agents with ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations in their criminal complaint.
During questioning, the men said they traveled across the border and met a man named “Ramiro” who offered them $8,000 for “work” before taking them to another man, known only as “El Guero,” court records show. The four men traveled to the Mexican city of Toluca, where they turned over their SUV to Ramiro, who took it and put them in a hotel over the weekend. The men started their trip back Sunday, the agents said in their complaint. Once across the border, Distefano and Machado were to call Ramiro for further instructions, but they weren’t able because of the arrest.
The drugs seized had a street value of $1,213,000, according to a CBP news release.