Feds: $18.3 Million in Meth Found in Diesel Tank of Mexican Big Rig

May 12, 2022Joshua Skovlund
customs police

US Customs and Border Protection officers are responsible for inspecting big rig shipments coming across the World Trade Crossing International Bridge into Laredo, Texas. US Customs and Border Protection photo.

Federal officers on May 6 in Texas seized what they suspect is $18.3 million in methamphetamines that was hidden in the diesel tank of a big rig arriving from Mexico.

Homeland Security Investigations agents say Mexican semitrailer truck driver Luis Alberto Garza-Cisneros, 33, confessed to trying to smuggle in nearly 414 kilograms of meth to pay off a debt owed by his cousin. 

He’s been booked into the Webb County Jail on a federal Homeland Security hold pending a detention hearing slated for Friday before US Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga in Laredo. According to the federal docket, no attorney has been named for him yet.

Big Rig
Federal officers check vehicles entering the US from Mexico at the World Trade Crossing International Bridge in Laredo, Texas. It’s the most important truck crossing on the border and one of four international spans connecting Laredo to Mexico’s Nuevo Laredo across the Rio Grande River. US Customs and Border Protection photo by Donna Burton.

According to court records, Garza-Cisneros drove from Mexico across the World Trade Bridge to the port of entry in Laredo on Friday carrying a load of stainless-steel scrap. 

A US Customs and Border Protection officer ordered him to park his truck in a secondary inspection lane, where an X-ray machine detected what appeared to be 120 gallons of a strange liquid sloshing inside buckets in a compartment of the diesel tanks. 

Homeland Security Investigations agents say the mixture tested positive for meth.

Big Rig
Homeland Security agents in Texas say federal officers foiled an attempt by a Mexican truck driver to haul 120 gallons of liquid containing methamphetamines into Laredo on Friday, May 6, 2022. US Customs and Border Protection photo.

US Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Rick Pauza told Coffee or Die Magazine it’s a “sizable interception,” but it isn’t even the biggest bust in Laredo over the past four weeks.

On April 12, federal officers seized a suspected methamphetamine shipment almost double in size at the same border crossing. 

US Customs and Border Protection officers said they found 799 kilos of meth divided into 158 packages hidden in a trailer containing a shipment of strawberry purée. 

Big Rig
US Customs and Border Protection officers in Laredo, Texas, on April 12, 2022, seized roughly 799 kilos of suspected methamphetamines divided into 158 packages hidden in a trailer. US Customs and Border Protection photo.

Port officials estimated the meth was worth $35.2 million on the street.

Laredo’s port director, Albert Flores, said in a prepared statement that April’s “mammoth seizure” highlighted the threat of narcotics trafficking faced by his officers every day.

US Customs and Border Protection agents and officers seized 39,920 kilos of methamphetamines between Oct. 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022.

If that trend holds, authorities will seize roughly 9% less meth this fiscal year compared with the previous 12 months.

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Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

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