A Mexican woman wearing two Santa Muerte pendants was arrested after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers discovered nearly forty pounds of cocaine in her SUV’s spare tire. A CBP K9 alerted officials to the presence of the drugs during a vehicle search.
Juana Romero Reyes, 41, of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, was arrested Thursday at the Bridge of the Americas in El Paso, Texas, following an inspection of her car while she was attempting to enter the United States from Mexico, according to information obtained from the CBP by Breitbart Texas. “Cesar,” a CBP K9, alerted officers of the presence of drugs. Further inspection of the vehicle revealed 39.55 pounds of cocaine that had been placed inside the vehicle’s spare tire. Reyes, the driver of the vehicle, was arrested.
The woman was waiting in line to enter the U.S. from Mexico when Cesar alerted officers. She was driving a 1998 Dodge Durango. An inspection of the underside of the vehicle revealed recent tampering with the spare tire. Reyes’ vehicle was moved to a secondary inspection area where a density scanner dubbed “Buster” revealed the presence of something inside the tire. The vehicle was also X-rayed by the agency’s Z-Portal system.
Fifteen bundles of what would later be identified as cocaine were discovered inside the tire. Reyes was then taken into custody. At that time, she revealed she was wearing two Santa Muerte pendants under her clothing. The Santa Muerte pendants are often worn by drug smugglers, the CBP stated.
Reyes was traveling with a baby and the baby’s sister. Reyes was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations agents and is expected to face charges connected with the failed smuggling attempt. The two children were turned over to an adult relative.
The nearly forty pounds of cocaine was reported to be worth just over $1.2 million.
Bob Price serves as senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.