RGC man arrested for attempting to smuggle 260 kilos of marijuana

Federal agents arrested a man in Rio Grande City last week for allegedly attempting to smuggle 260 kilograms of suspected marijuana.

Rosbel Garcia was arrested Friday after U.S. Border Patrol agents allegedly saw him drive away in a truck he later abandoned, and in which agents found bundles of marijuana, according to the criminal complaint.

The pursuit began Thursday night when agents first observed a white Chevrolet Silverado driving along a road adjacent to the Rio Grande before parking in an area known as Reyes Landing, which is purportedly a known drug corridor, the complaint stated.

After remaining parked there for about five minutes, the Silverado then drove away and began traveling north on Midway Road in Rio Grande City.

Midway Road also happens to be the location of a home where Border Patrol agents had executed a search warrant in August 2019.

That location, 25 Midway Road — as well as 39 Alegria Circle — was a suspected staging area for “hard narcotics and bulk cash currency from drug proceeds,” according to a federal criminal complaint filed against a group of men arrested earlier this year on drug smuggling charges.

The agents encountered a couple of those men, Daniel and Rene Sepulveda, at 25 Midway Road whom agents had allegedly previously identified as members of a drug trafficking organization led by an individual named Jose Luis Garcia.

Jose Luis Garcia was also arrested on drug smuggling and tampering charges for allegedly attempting to destroy surveillance cameras.

On Thursday, while the Silverado continued heading north on Midway, an agent drove south on the same road in an attempt to get a closer look at the Silverado, the complaint stated.

As the agent got closer, they reportedly saw the Silverado drive through the intersection at Midway Road and U.S. Expressway 83 without stopping at the stop sign and continue north onto where Midway Road becomes Suntex Road.

The Border Patrol agent attempted to conduct a vehicle stop on the Silverado but the driver of the truck continued driving north through Rio Grande City, according to the complaint.

After a few minutes, the driver supposedly abandoned the vehicle in a brushy area near the intersection of Alvarez Road and Agua Verde Road.

Inside the truck, the agents reported finding 14 bundles of suspected marijuana. They were later processed at a Border Patrol station where they were found to weigh 260 kilograms and to contain suspected marijuana.

After searching the brushy area where the car had been abandoned, agents found a black wallet with Garcia’s driver’s license, which also allegedly had $1,600 inside.

With the help of a Border Patrol K-9 officer, the agents continued tracking Garcia and came across shoes, a shirt and part of a cellphone.

Eventually, they tracked him down at the Esperanza Apartments where Garcia was seen trying to hide behind a car. He was not wearing shoes or a shirt and was carrying a broken phone, the complaint stated.

The agents also noticed that Garcia had fresh scratches and cuts on his torso, arms and legs.

During an interview conducted the following day, Garcia is said to have admitted to participating in an attempt to smuggle marijuana and to being the driver of the Silverado, according to the complaint.

Garcia also allegedly told the agents that he was going to be paid for picking up the drugs from the river and taking it to a location in Rio Grande City.

On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker ordered the postponement of Garcia’s initial appearance in the case due to coronavirus concerns at the East Hidalgo Detention facility where seven employees tested positive for COVID-19, according to GEO Group Inc. which operates the jail.

“Due to the current concerns related to the COVID-19 virus at the East Hidalgo Detention Center in La Villa, Texas, the undersigned finds that there is good cause for the defendant’s initial appearance to be postponed,” the order stated. “As such, the Federal Public Defender’s office is appointed to represent the defendant until an attorney can be formally appointed upon defendant’s initial appearance.”