Man found guilty in border smuggling incident

| 8/16/2002

A federal grand jury found a Mexican transfer driver guilty Aug. 13 for intending to distribute three tons of marijuana - the largest seized marijuana load to cross the Laredo border this year.

Ricardo Sanchez Romero, of Nuevo Laredo, was arrested March 8 at the World Trade Bridge after U.S. Customs inspectors used a mobile x-ray scan and detected 6,076 pounds of marijuana in the tractor-trailer he was driving. The marijuana was found among a load of auto parts.

In addition to the marijuana seizure, inspectors also confiscated $1,400 found in the defendant's wallet.

According to testimony presented in trial, a company in Nuevo Laredo, Transportes Tamez, hired Romero to transport the cargo.

His defense attorney, Eduardo Jaime, told jurors his client was not aware he was transporting marijuana and thought he was hauling a legitimate load into Laredo as he had many times before. Jaime explained that the marijuana was not visible to the naked eye, because it was stashed in already wrapped boxes ready to be transported when he picked up the trailer.

Romero is expected to be sentenced by mid November following a pre-sentence investigation.