Dallas-area man faces 10 years in liquid meth case

McALLEN — A Dallas-area man could face as many as 10 years in federal prison for his role in an attempt to smuggle a large quantity of liquid meth into the U.S., court records show.

Jonathan Riley Lunsford is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane Tuesday morning for his sentencing hearing related to federal drug import charges in connection with his October 2017 arrest at the Progreso-Nuevo Progreso International Bridge.

The 22-year-old man could face more than 10 years in federal prison based on the amount of methamphetamine he possessed earlier this year at a port of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Lunsford faces four federal drug charges, including two conspiracy charges, one import of a controlled substance charge, and one distribution of a controlled substance, court notes show.

Lunsford pleaded guilty in December to importing a controlled substance, and in exchange, government prosecutors agreed to dismiss the remaining three counts against him.

According to the complaint filed against Lunsford, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the port of entry Oct. 14, 2017, asked Lunsford about his travel itinerary and referred him to secondary inspection after he said he wasn’t carrying any contraband.

Lunsford told CBP officers that he had traveled alone from Dallas to Mexico to celebrate his 22nd birthday, but a secondary inspection led to the discovery of containers hidden within his vehicle.

A CBP certified-canine team found numerous labeled plastic containers within the trunk of Lunsford’s vehicle, but the labels did not match with what appeared to be inside the containers, and upon testing the liquid, officers determined it was liquid methamphetamine.

In all, officers seized 21.98 kilograms of liquid meth from Lunsford’s vehicle.

During his interview with federal agents, Lunsford, who did not name any co-conspirators, admitted he was promised cash in exchange for smuggling the meth, but did not say how much he was supposed to be paid before he ended his interview with agents, the complaint states.

“Lunsford admitted he was aware it was unlawful to smuggle the liquid narcotics from Mexico into the United States,” the complaint states.

Lunsford, who has been in federal custody since his arrest in Oct., is represented by Rio Grande City-based attorney Gilberto Falcon.