Rio Hondo man arrested on cocaine distribution charge

RIO HONDO — A 45-year-old Rio Hondo man remains in federal custody after he was accused of trying to distribute 26 pounds of cocaine.

Robert Garcia Jr. appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ignacio Torteya III, and he was ordered to be held without bond until his next scheduled court date.

According to a criminal complaint filed against Garcia, he and Jorge Juarez Jimenez, a Mexican national, are accused of taking part in a smuggling operation that included the exchange of drugs in the parking lot of a Brownsville restaurant.

The complaint states the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit had received a tip of a possible smuggling attempt of drugs outside the restaurant.

The incident occurred April 19 when a white van pulled up next to a Honda Pilot that Garcia would be riding in, according to the complaint. The driver of the van got out of the vehicle, carrying two red bags, and walked up to Garcia’s vehicle and placed the bags inside, the complaint said.

The driver reportedly waved toward the restaurant, and Garcia and Juarez Jimenez walked out of the restaurant and got into the Honda Pilot and drove off, according to the complaint. They also checked the back seat prior to driving away.

A Cameron County sheriff’s deputy followed them and then stopped the Honda for a traffic infraction. The deputy received permission to search the vehicle, where he found 10 packages of cocaine, the complaint read.

Garcia and the other man were transported to the Sheriff’s Department to be interviewed. Garcia was later arrested. Juarez Jimenez was found to be in the country illegally and was also charged.