Mothers accused of smuggling drugs said children’s lives at risk

Two mothers caught trying to smuggle methamphetamine Thursday said men threatened to kill their children if they did not cross the drugs into the United States, according to criminal complaints filed in federal court.

Sarahi Cruz, 20, was trying to cross the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge on Thursday with more than a pound of methamphetamine in her undergarments when a K-9 alerted U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers of a positive narcotics odor emanating from Cruz.

Officers found two clear plastic heat sealed packages containing an off-white crystalline substance that tested positive for meth. One of the packages was hidden in her underwear, and the other was underneath a compression undergarment at her lower abdomen, the complaint states.

On May 2, officers received an anonymous call identifying Cruz as a possible drug smuggler, according to the complaint. Cruz said a man in Mexico known only as “Guero” threatened to take her 1-year-old son and harm her parents in Mexico if she did not smuggle the drugs into the United States.

Cruz also said she would be paid $300 after dropping off the drugs with a man at a Whataburger in Hidalgo.

That same day, officers at the Anzalduas-Reynosa International Bridge stopped the driver of a 2008 Dodge Avenger car loaded with more than 5 kilos of methamphetamine, according to a criminal complaint.

Andrea Aracely Reyna-Rodriguez, 26, said she knew something was in the vehicle because she was told by a known member of the Gulf Cartel named “El Rana” that if she crossed the car into the United States to purchase auto parts, he would forgive a debt that her father owed him for protection, the complaint states.

“Reyna-Rodriguez stated that ‘El Rana’ pointed a small pistol at her chest in Mexico and told her not to be ‘stupid’ and to transport the narcotics into the U.S. or he would kill her family,” the complaint states.

She told investigators she did not know what kinds of drugs were in the vehicle and was instructed to park at an Auto Zone store near 10th Street in McAllen and leave it there for two hours, states the complaint. Reyna-Rodriguez said she was to drive the vehicle back to Mexico and was not going to be compensated for bringing the drugs into the United States other than “El Rana” forgiving her father’s debt.