MCALLEN, Texas — An agriculture contractor allegedly used a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) vehicle to pick up drugs at the Texas border, according to federal authorities.
Court records obtained by Breitbart-Texas show that federal agents and local police arrested 27-year-old Mario Guadalupe Saenz at a shopping center in this border city where he was expected to deliver the drugs.
The arrest comes after authorities carried out a surveillance operation where they saw Saenz drive the USDA truck around the border fence towards a brushy area from where he picked up a duffel bag that had several bricks that ended up being approximately 20 pounds of cocaine.
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations, USDA’s Inspector General and McAllen Police arrested Saenz at the business parking lot seizing the bag with drugs and finding a .40 caliber handgun with two loaded magazines in the vehicle. Since Saenz had previous felony convictions he is not able to legally possess a weapon and had been serving a probation term, court records show.
Saenz has been charged with possession of more than 5 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute an with possession of a firearm by a felon, if convicted he faces a possible life term in prison. During questioning by agents, Saenz told them that the gun was his and he would go to the shooting range to practice with it.
During the interview, the contractor said that as part of his job he would cross the border fence to inspect orchards in the area and that he would collect marijuana. On the day that he was arrested Saenz thought he was picking up a marijuana load but it was in fact cocaine. He expected to get from $100 to $200 for delivering the bag with drugs.
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CORRECTION: The alleged drug trafficker is a contractor for an agricultural association that is provided registered USDA vehicles. He is not an employee of the USDA.