A truck driver previously accused of hauling 700 gallons of liquid meth inside of a fuel tanker has been freed and found innocent after the initial tests that showed a positive result for meth were proven faulty.
Juan Carlos Toscano Guzman was arrested on February 15th in Pharr, Texas. He spent nearly six weeks behind bars after being accused of transporting an estimated $10 million worth of methamphetamine inside of his tanker truck.
According to Star-Telegram, Guzman was stopped in Pharr with his load of mixed diesel and oil when a local officer in the area for another call noticed several men pouring a “liquid substance” out of large barrels. The officer approached Guzman and started a conversation, during which the officer noticed that multiple tankers at the property were missing hazard placards. The officer then called for backup.
As officers investigated the situation, they noticed “crystallization” around the barrels and a hose hanging from a chain link fence. The officer attributed these facts to the potential presence of meth and tested Guzman’s cargo right there. The test apparently came back positive. Lab Agents from the DEA then arrived at the scene and also found that the liquid in Guzman’s tanker tested “presumptive positive” for meth.
“This stemmed from a patrol officer’s attention to detail when he observed something out of the ordinary and he used our resources to further investigate. This is great policing!” said Pharr Police Department Chief Andy Harvey.
“These guys were convinced they were on to something huge. But those tests are not reliable,” said Guzman’s lawyer, Oscar Vega. Pharr police have declined to comment because the case “is a federal matter.”
There is a known margin for error on these field tests, so they are typically used to establish probable cause rather than serve as proof of the presence of drugs. The substance was later sent to a DEA certified lab and was found not to contain any narcotics.
“It was not meth. It was not meth and I tried to explain it to them during the detention hearing, but their tests showed a positive result and so they had enough to detain my client,” Vega said.
Charges against Guzman were dropped on March 25th.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do next,” Vega said, but added that Guzman seems content with being proven innocent and has not expressed a desire to take legal action.