Man Arrested In Methtillas Smuggling Bid
Feds: Suspect's tortillas packed with meth
NOVEMBER 2--When Abelardo Aguilar arrived at the Nogales, Arizona border crossing Friday afternoon, the 62-year-old Arizona resident was questioned about the two plastic bags he was seeking to carry back into the United States.
Aguilar explained to a Customs and Border Protection agent that he “had tortillas and diabetes medicine,” according to a court filing.
Perhaps because of the abundance of Mexican food products for sale in Nogales itself, the agent decided to examine the three wrapped stacks of tortillas that Aguilar had decided to import.
The agent pressed on one stack of tortillas, “which felt hard and crunchy.” Then the investigator “probed a second stack of tortillas and hit something hard.”
After a drug dog “alerted positively” to Aguilar’s belongings, agents opened the bags and discovered that each of the tortilla stacks was “hollowed out” and stuffed with a package containing methamphetamine. Combined, the tortilla stacks--seen in the above evidence photo--held nearly three pounds of the drug.
During questioning, Aguilar claimed not to know what methamphetamine was (or that it was a controlled substance). Aguilar told agents that, a week before his arrest, he had met a woman in Nogales who “asked him to pick up tortillas from an unnamed associate of hers on the other side of the border.”
Aguilar, who claimed not to know the woman’s name, said that he retrieved the tortillas and was unaware of “any prohibited items in his possession.”
Charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, Aguilar is in federal custody in advance of a detention hearing scheduled for today in U.S. District Court in Tucson. (1 page)