Admitted drug cartel smugglers arrested in McLennan County
WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Admitted smugglers for a Mexican drug cartel were arrested Thursday in McLennan County while traveling with a variety of narcotics, a gun and a 19-month-old baby.
A Department of Public Safety trooper stopped a 2016 Mitsubishi Lancer at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday for following too closely and failing to signal a lane change on northbound Interstate 35.
“An interview with the driver yielded numerous indicators of deception and inconsistent travel itineraries,” the trooper wrote in an arrest affidavit. “The travel itineraries that the driver provided contradicted the travel itineraries that the passenger provided.”
“The passenger exhibited numerous indicators of deception and heightened levels of anxiety when providing their travel itinerary,” the affidavit states.
A drug-detecting dog was brought to the scene and alerted “to the odor of narcotics,” according to arrest documents. A search of the vehicle turned up a .40-caliber pistol beside the driver’s seat and three trash bags containing 300 jars with about 40 pounds of the sedative alprazolam hidden inside a subwoofer speaker box in the trunk.
Officers also found a baby backpack leaning against the toddler in the back seat filled with child supplies and diapers. Under the diapers, officers found three bundles of a white powder that tested positive for about 2.3 pounds of the painkiller tramadol, which officers suspect was mixed with fentanyl powder.
DPS investigators also found one bottle of the sedative promethazine with codeine that yielded about 305 grams, four injections, or about 60 grams, of the hormone therapy drug medroxyprogesterone, and about 156 grams of the erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil, according to the affidavit.
Troopers arrested Armando Daniel Lopez, 23, and Estrellita Lopez, 20, both of Mercedes, Texas. Both remained jailed Friday evening under bonds totaling $335,000 and $330,000, respectively.
Daniel Lopez was charged with two counts of delivery of dangerous drugs, three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, one count of unlawfully carrying a weapon and one count of endangering a child.
Estrellita Lopez was charged with the same offenses, except she was not charged with a weapons violation.
According to the affidavit, Armando Lopez told troopers he was paid $3,000 to drive to Mexico to pick up the drugs. He said he drove back through a point of entry and U.S. Customs Borer Patrol checkpoints with the intent of taking the drugs to Dallas.
He admitted he was smuggling the drugs into the U.S. for a Mexican drug cartel, the affidavit alleges.
Copyright 2023 KWTX. All rights reserved.