Mexican nationals face drug smuggling charges

Men arrived in McAllen to help move cocaine

A Mexican man and two others face drug charges in connection with an alleged drug smuggling operation that began this summer, records show.

Special agents with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations arrested Williams Zarco and two other Mexican nationals in September as part of an investigation that began in July.

“In July 2020, (HSI McAllen) began an investigation into a drug trafficking organization operating in the Rio Grande Valley. During the investigation, agents conducted surveillance of individuals suspected of being involved in the transportation of cocaine from McAllen, Texas to other locations in the United States,” the complaint against Zarco states.

On Sept. 28, agents conducted a raid of a warehouse and a tractor-trailer located in Pharr.

After consent was given by a man named Jose Rosales, agents searched the warehouse and found Zarco, and Fernando Salazar-Figueroa.

The trailer was taken to a port of entry where a search determined anomalies within the vehicle.

“A more intensive inspection of the vehicle yielded the discovery of 50 bricks with a substance that field tested positive properties of cocaine,” the complaint states.

During an interview with agents, Rosales admitted to working for people in Mexico who hired him to travel to McAllen and witness and verify the arrival of 50 bricks of more than 60 kilos of cocaine in the country.

“Rosales stated he arrived in McAllen in July 2020 and since that time had been living with Salazar and Zarco. He stated the warehouse where the consent search was conducted was utilized to comingle the cocaine bricks with a cover load,” the document states.

He said he was paid $500 weekly for his work.

During an interview with Salazar, he allegedly admitted to arriving, along with Zarco, in McAllen in July 2020.

“Salazar stated they were both there to assist in the facilitation of distributing cocaine from McAllen, Texas to other locations in the United States,” the document shows.

Salazar also said the cocaine was moved to the warehouse on Sept. 26 and mixed in with the “cover load” and wrapped in plastic cellophane by himself and Zarco.

“During surveillance, agents witnessed Zarco buying plastic cellophane rolls and tape and gloves were found at the location,” the court document states.

Zarco declined to make any statements to authorities.

All three men made their initial appearance before a federal magistrate Wednesday morning, records show.

A detention hearing is scheduled for early next week.