RIVERSIDE – A Mexican policeman allegedly caught transporting heroin and methamphetamine into the United States is scheduled to be arraigned next week in Riverside federal court on charges stemming from his March 13 arrest near Temecula.
Noe Raygoza Garcia, 33, could face 10 or more years in prison if convicted of possession with intent to distribute illegal drugs.
Garcia, who was indicted last week by a Riverside County grand jury, is being held without bail at a federal detention center. He had been slated to make his initial court appearance this morning, but the hearing was postponed when marshals failed to transport him from jail for reasons not immediately clear.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Garcia was arrested after Border Patrol agents discovered 13 pounds of heroin and roughly six pounds of methamphetamine in a vehicle he was driving.
Two agents noticed the red Dodge Neon heading north on Interstate 15, south of Temecula, around 11 a.m. According to an arrest warrant affidavit fled by Agent Kevin Legg, the agents became suspicious when the Neon’s speed dropped 15 mph seconds after passing their marked Border Patrol Chevrolet Tahoe positioned alongside the freeway.
The agents tailed the Neon, which slowed to 50 mph in the middle lane, forcing other motorists to go around. They stopped the Neon near the Temecula Border Patrol checkpoint and questioned the driver, who was visibly nervous, pacing and shaking, Legg alleged.
He said the Mexican national identified himself as a police officer and said he was a ”good person” who was traveling to San Bernardino to see a sick relative, whose address he couldn’t provide. When the defendant told the agents the Neon was borrowed, they asked for — and were granted — permission to search the compact car.
A drug-sniffing canine was called to the scene and immediately alerted to the presence of contraband, according to Legg. The agent said the upholstery on a rear seat was removed and revealed 11 packages stuffed inside the seat, later confirmed to contain heroin and meth.
Garcia disavowed any knowledge of the drugs. He was taken into custody without incident.
His arraignment was rescheduled for April 9 in U.S. District Court.