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November 27, 2023McAllen, TX, United StatesNarcotics

Hiding meth in batteries lands south Texas man in prison following HSI Rio Grande Valley, federal partner investigation

MCALLEN, Texas — A South Texas man was sentenced to prison for attempting to import more than 40 pounds of methamphetamine into the country following an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Richard Nares, 51, of Edinburg, was sentenced by a federal judge Nov. 27 to 60 months in federal prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court considered the meth’s volume and purity. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that the narcotics were stored in vehicle batteries, which contradicted Nares’ claim that he thought he was trafficking marijuana. Nares pleaded guilty May 2, 2022, to the importation of 500 grams or more of meth.

“HSI prioritizes combating illicit narcotics smuggling and countering the devastation dangerous drugs wreak on our communities. Anyone contemplating the smuggling or selling of drugs should ask themselves if they are prepared to be caught and forfeit their own freedom,” said HSI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Craig Larrabee. “HSI will continue to work aggressively with our federal law enforcement partners to keep our communities safe.”

According to court documents, on Dec. 20, 2021, Nares attempted to enter the United States from Mexico via the Hidalgo Port of Entry in a Dodge Ram 2500. Law enforcement officials saw two commercial vehicle batteries in the rear row of the truck, and a K-9 alerted authorities to the presence of narcotics in them. After they dismantled the batteries, authorities discovered two rectangular bundles in each battery. Then then searched the connected batteries under the vehicle’s hood and found four additional bundles. Laboratory testing confirmed the eight bundles contained meth and weighed 20.34 kilograms. Nares subsequently admitted that he traveled to Mexico earlier in the day and intended to turn the vehicle over to another person after entering the United States with the narcotics.

Nares was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to the U.S. Marshals in the near future.

Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Lee Fry prosecuted the case.

HSI is the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of more than 8,700 employees consists of more than 6,000 special agents assigned to 237 cities throughout the United States, and 93 overseas locations in 56 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’ largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.