A Texas resident was sentenced to federal prison this week on drug smuggling charges after authorities discovered half a million dollars worth of cocaine concealed on the tractor trailer he was operating.
On April 25, 2023, Baltazar Reyes-Herrera, 28, was sentenced to more than 8 years (100 months) in prison to be followed by four years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.
Reyes-Herrera was convicted by a grand jury on January 20, 2023, on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
On October 19, 2020, Reyes-Herrera arrived at the Sarita checkpoint in a semi truck and told officers that he was traveling to Houston to pick up a truck from auction.
“Following a K-9 alert, law enforcement crawled underneath the tractor and observed handprints on the bolts that hold the rear differential in place. Reyes-Herrera denied knowledge of the 18 bundles of cocaine concealed in the hollow differential,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Authorities later said that Reyes-Herrera did not have a valid CDL or driver logs, and had purchased truck insurance just two hours prior to his arrival at the checkpoint.
The court later heard evidence that Reyes-Herrera was taking 18 bundles of cocaine to Mississippi for payment of $10,000 and bringing the currency back for the sale of the 19.52 kilograms of cocaine.
The estimated street value of the seized cocaine is $500,000.