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Narcotics
08/26/2020

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Cuban national accused of drug trafficking ordered into custody after allegedly attempting to flee US by boat

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Cuban national who is charged with trafficking cocaine was ordered into federal custody Wednesday pending further criminal proceedings after allegedly attempting to flee the U.S. in a boat.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Corpus Christi is conducting this investigation with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Coast Guard.

Osvaldo Iglesias Ruiz, 34, was charged in March with possession with intent to distribute more than 10 kilograms of cocaine. He made an initial appearance on the drug trafficking charges and was released after posting bond. Shortly following his release, Ruiz was apprehended by authorities as he was allegedly attempting to flee the U.S. in a boat off the coast of Florida heading towards Cuba.

According to the criminal complaint for drug trafficking, Ruiz allegedly approached the Javier Vega Jr. checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, on March 14 traveling northbound in a tractor trailer without the attached trailer. At the checkpoint, he allegedly provided authorities with inconsistent answers pertaining to the direction he was traveling and a K-9 alerted to the rear differential of the vehicle.

Ruiz was then referred to secondary inspection where authorities allegedly discovered multiple cocaine bundles weighing more than 10 kilograms. The drugs have an estimated street value of $250,000.

If convicted, Ruiz faces up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Neel Kapur is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/27/2020