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Narcotics
08/04/2020

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East Texas man indicted for trying to smuggle meth inside shoes

LAREDO, Texas — A South Texas grand jury returned a two-count indictment against an East Texas man for conspiring with others to import approximately 438.99 grams of methamphetamine from Mexico.

This case is being conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in coordination with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Cesar Augusto Berlanga Jr, 20, from Haltom City, Texas, was charged with importing meth into the United States and one count of conspiracy. Originally charged by criminal complaint, he has remained in custody pending further criminal proceedings. He is expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge on the indictment in the near future.

According to court documents, on July 9, Berlanga applied for admission as a pedestrian into the United States from Mexico at the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge in Laredo. During primary inspection, CBP allegedly noticed Berlanga’s shoes appeared to be larger than normal. The charges allege that while being escorted for further inspection, Berlanga ran toward the streets of Laredo. Authorities quickly apprehended him approximately two blocks away after a brief foot chase, according to the allegations.

An inspection of Berlanga’s shoes allegedly revealed two plastic bags containing a substance that field tested positive for meth. The drugs weighed approximately 438.99 grams and have an estimated street value of $3,073, according to the charges.

If convicted, Berlanga face a minimum of 10 years in federal prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Yoona Lim, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 08/06/2020