Mother, son admit to roles in drug smuggling attempt

McALLEN — A mother and son from Mexico with visitor visas pleaded guilty to federal drug charges for their role in an attempting to smuggle marijuana in December, according to court records.

Edgar Alberto Reyna-Riojas, 24, and his mother Diana Romelia Riojas-Vazquez, 49, each pleaded guilty to one count of distributing, selling or dispensing marijuana on Feb. 28, and March 2 respectively, court records show.

In exchange for their respective guilty pleas, the government agreed to dismiss three remaining charges they faced.

The pair was arrested on Dec. 6, 2017, at the Progreso-Nuevo Progreso International Bridge after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stopped Reyna, who was attempting to enter the country driving a tractor trailer.

“During primary inbound inspection, CBP officers obtained a negative written declaration for fruits, food, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, weapons and currency over $10,000. CBP officers referred Reyna and the tractor trailer for a non-intrusive X-ray inspection and discovered anomalies in the floor of the trailer,” the complaint states.

CBP officers, after being alerted by a K-9 unit of potential narcotics, referred Reyna for a secondary inspection.

While conducting a search of the trailer, officers located a false floor made up of two compartments — where they discovered 110 cellophane-wrapped packages later confirmed to be marijuana, the complaint states.

When officers interrogated Reyna, he admitted he was hired by unknown people in Mexico to take the trailer from Nuevo Progreso to Mission.

“Reyna stated he was to be paid $1,500 for transporting the marijuana,” the record shows.

Reyna told officers his mother, Riojas, was the owner of the tractor and had arranged the transportation with contacts in Mexico and was also going to be paid, the complaint states.

Reyna’s mother, who arrived at the port of entry after her son was detained, spoke with CBP officers and admitted her role in the attempted drug smuggling.

In all, the 110 wrapped packages totaled more than 400 pounds of marijuana.

Reyna is scheduled to be sentenced on May 8, while his mother is scheduled to be sentenced to May 21, according to court notes.