SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A federal grand jury returned an indictment Thursday against a Mexican national who attempted to smuggle more than 15 pounds of methamphetamine into the U.S. through Sacramento International Airport concealed inside two decorative wooden carts.
Carlos Alberto Torres-Eufracio, 31, of Jalisco, Mexico, is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. According to court documents, Torres-Eufracio arrived at Sacramento International Airport April 26 on an AeroMexico flight from Guadalajara, Mexico. During a routine inspection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an X-ray of two decorative wooden carts he was carrying inside his checked luggage showed anomalies. After additional examination, CBP discovered the methamphetamine concealed in hollowed-out portions of the wood.
The case is the product of a probe by CBP and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Jill Thomas and Special Assistant United States Attorney Ashwin Janakiram are prosecuting the case.
"CBP maintains constant vigilance at our borders and ports of entry to detect and deter anything entering or departing the country that could cause harm to the American public," said Brian J. Humphrey, CBP director of field operations in San Francisco. "This is a perfect example of the cooperative efforts between CBP, HSI, and the Department of Justice to protect our nation."
"This scheme involved considerable planning and preparation and shows the lengths to which smugglers will go in an attempt to elude detection," said Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge for HSI Sacramento. "The fact this ruse was detected should serve as a deterrent for others who might be considering trying similar tactics to conceal dangerous contraband."
If convicted, Torres-Eufracio faces 10 years to life in prison, and a $10 million fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.