McALLEN — A need to “pay bills” was a Donna man’s motive for participating in a scheme to move 10 kilos of cocaine to Ohio, according to a criminal complaint filed earlier this month.
FBI agents arrested Derrick Raul Lerma, Fernando Lerma, Reynaldo Lerma and Carlos Gonzalez at an apartment in Alton on May 9 after finding 10 kilograms of cocaine inside the vehicle of one of the men, court records show.
Agents, conducting surveillance of an apartment in the 2600 block of Garfield Avenue in Alton watched as Gonzalez, driving a Nissan Sentra, arrived at the aforementioned apartment and entered the residence.
About 15 minutes later, agents watched as Derrick Lerma, Fernando Lerma and Reynaldo Lerma also arrived at the apartment and entered.
Moments later, agents approached the apartment and interviewed Reynaldo Lerma, who confirmed the vehicle he arrived in, a maroon in color Dodge Ram pickup truck.
Agents subsequently searched Reynaldo’s vehicle, and discovered inside a toolbox, a trash bag with 10 separate bricks of what was later determined to be cocaine, the complaint against the men stated.
Gonzalez was also interviewed by the agents, where he stated that he and the men had agreed to a drug transaction for 10 kilos of cocaine destined for Ohio.
He said the day before, he met with Derrick, Reynaldo and Fernando in Donna to discuss the logistics of transporting the cocaine, during which Derrick gave Gonzalez $1,000 cash, meant as a down payment for Gonzalez to coordinate the aforementioned transportation of the cocaine.
“D. Lerma also agreed to deliver another $1,000 to Gonzalez upon delivery of the cocaine,” the complaint stated.
According to the complaint, Derrick was carrying $1,000 in $100 bills wrapped in a rubber band at the time of this arrest.
During his interview with agents, Derrick stated he was involved in the alleged scheme in order to “pay bills.”
On Wednesday, the four men appeared for their respective detention hearings before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter E. Ormsby, court records show.
During the hearings, Gonzalez was denied bond, while the remaining three defendants were granted a $75,000 bond each, with a $2,500 cash deposit required, the notes show.
According to court records, a Donna man paid for each of the $2,500 cash bonds for Derrick Lerma, Reynaldo Lerma and Fernando Lerma.