Pharr woman denied bond in drug trafficking case

Docs: Troopers found large quantity of meth, heroin in van

McALLEN — A federal magistrate judge denied bond for a woman accused of transporting a large quantity of meth and heroin, court records show.

Alexandra Briones, 33, will remain in U.S. Marshals’ custody pending subsequent court proceedings. At a detention hearing Wednesday afternoon, the government presented witnesses who testified about her arrest last October in Fort Bend County, according to court notes.

>> READ THE COMPLAINT 

Briones, a Pharr native, was pulled over by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper for a traffic violation on Oct. 19, 2018, while traveling through Fort Bend County, Texas, as she made her way to Houston, the complaint against her stated.

The trooper stopped the gray 2011 Chrysler Town and Country van in Fort Bend County because a backseat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt and she “failed to stop at a proper place at a stop light,” records show.

During the stop, the DPS trooper noted she showed several signs of “criminal activity,” including extreme nervousness, inconsistent statements on travel plans, and lack of eye contact when asked about any illegal substances inside the vehicle.

Subsequently, Briones gave the trooper consent to search the van.

“… The (DPS trooper) opened the rear hatch of the vehicle and observed a black carpet covering multiple boxes,” the complaint stated. “The carpet was also covered by loose clothes, and backpacks. (The trooper) observed one suitcase, two small bags and one gym bag in the vehicle for a family of five traveling from Houston for a week.”

The trooper then removed the suitcase, bags and carpet, and found two speaker boxes on the far right side of the trunk area, a wooden box coated with grease wrapped in a trash bag in the middle of the trunk area, and two metal boxes welded shut on the far left side of the trunk.

The trooper tapped on the speaker boxes, which were heavier than normal, and heard a solid sound “inconsistent” with other speaker boxes.

“(The trooper) requested the assistance of a (DPS) K-9 and the K-9 conducted a free air sniff and alerted to the presence of narcotics in the speaker boxes,” court documents stated. “(The trooper) then removed a speaker from one of the boxes and located a false wall inside the box. While working to get inside the speaker box, Briones was looking around in all directions. Briones also emptied her pockets of all her money and handed it to her mother, Alejandrina Briones.”

The trooper made a hole in the speaker boxes’ false wall, revealing a bundle wrapped in gray tape that contained a white powdery substance.

After a more thorough search of the vehicle, law enforcement discovered two additional speaker boxes and two additional wooden blocks in a compartment under the second row seats of the vehicle.

“Upon search of the speaker boxes, wooden boxes and metal boxes, approximately 66.75 kilograms of methamphetamine, and 10.80 kilograms of heroin were located,” the complaint stated.

Briones declined to make any statements to authorities and was subsequently arrested.