A woman faces federal drug charges after trying to smuggle roughly 144 pounds of liquid methamphetamine into the United States through the Brownsville, Texas, port of entry, according to court documents obtained by Breitbart News.
On Sunday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers reportedly discovered the federally controlled substance hidden inside the gas tank of a vehicle driven by Sandra Sanchez Marin, who attempted to drive across the international bridge that connects Matamoros, Tamaulipas, with Brownsville.
During a routine primary inspection, a CBP agent found an inconsistency in the vehicle and referred it for a secondary inspection, during which the suspect’s story began to unravel, according to the criminal complaint. Upon further examination, border authorities discovered a “non-factory compartment” concealed in the gas tank of the vehicle. Officers opened the compartment and found it contained a clear liquid substance that began to crystallize and become opaque once it touched the air.
A subsequent investigation revealed the liquid tested positive as methamphetamine. CBP agents seized approximately 144.3 pounds or 65.59 kilograms of the narcotic, according to the complaint. Border protection authorities turned Sanchez Marin over to federal investigators.
During an interview, the suspect reportedly told the feds she was paid $3,000 to drive “something illegal” in the vehicle from Mexico into the United States. Sanchez Marin believed the contraband substance she transported was marijuana, according to the complaint. Sanchez Marin admitted to federal authorities this was the first time she tried to smuggle an illegal drug into the United States. The court documents note she planned to deliver the vehicle with the meth to an unidentified individual in Brownsville at a “busy” undisclosed public location.
Sanchez Marin also reportedly confessed that, prior to this thwarted drug run, she drove the vehicle through the Brownsville port of entry multiple times to create a “vehicle crossing history,” an ill-fated attempt to affect a sense of familiarity. She believed this would minimize her chances of being stopped, detained, or questioned about the vehicle and allow her to go undetected by CBP agents on Sunday when she sought to move a substantial amount of liquid meth across the international bridge and into South Texas.
On Tuesday, Sanchez Marin made her first court appearance in Brownsville before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya, III. She was charged with knowingly and intentionally possessing with the intent to distribute the methamphetamine, as well as conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possess and traffic the drug. If convicted, these charges carry minimum sentences of 10 years to life in prison and fines up to $10 million.
On Wednesday, Sanchez Marin waived her right to a detention hearing. The court documents do not indicate her place of residence; however, they state she remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshal and is being held without bond.
Sanchez Marin is expected back in the courtroom Friday afternoon with her court-appointed public defender for a preliminary examination hearing, according to the criminal docket in this case.