500 pounds of marijuana seized in TexasPosted on November 17, 2003
Four men made their initial appearance in federal court before a magistrate here this afternoon on drug charges stemming from an unusual smuggling scheme initially uncovered at a Texas border crossing earlier this month. The four were arrested by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Friday night after they accepted a shipment of clay figurines filled with marijuana.
The figurines, shaped like kneeling, sombrero-wearing mariachis, were among a shipment of items that crossed the border at Laredo, Texas on November 17. Inspectors with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detected the contraband and alerted ICE investigators. ICE agents then took control of the shipment and delivered it to its planned destination, La Muebleria Furniture, 514 East Lerdo Highway, in Shafter, California.
Mike Carillo, who claims to own La Muebleria Furniture, accepted the shipment. The other men charged today, Juan Zepeda, Ramon Fernandez, and Salvador Fernandez helped unload the items at the store. ICE agents returned to the store later with search warrants and confiscated more than 2,500 pounds of marijuana. The seized marijuana has an estimated street value of more than $1.2 million.