LOS ANGELES – U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a 54-year-old woman on Monday who is linked to a significant narcotics and illicit currency seizure at a Los Angeles residence.
The arrest took place during the course of a Border Patrol investigation involving a Chevrolet Malibu sedan that agents suspected was being used for cross-border narcotics smuggling. Also involved in the investigation was law enforcement personnel with the California Multi-Jurisdictional Methamphetamine Enforcement Team (Cal-MMET), a multi-agency narcotics task force.
The investigation led to a Boyle Heights apartment complex, where Cal-MMET officers discovered 15 bundles of cocaine inside the Chevrolet Malibu and arrested the vehicle’s owner, Hugo Rueda, 50. The cocaine is estimated to weigh 33 pounds. Also at the complex, Cal-MMET officers discovered a large amount of currency stashed inside the spare tire of a Kia Spectrum, a vehicle that that Rueda was safekeeping. Officers also found about one ounce of crystal methamphetamine in the Kia Spectrum.
Cal-MMET officers were granted consent by Rueda’s wife, Teresa Vidal-Jaime, to conduct a further search of the apartment, resulting in the discovery of a large amount of currency in a duffel bag. Border Patrol agents took custody of Vidal-Jaime upon discovering that she was living in the country illegally.
Vidal-Jaime was processed for deportation proceedings.
Cal-MMET arrested three other men, ages 49, 46, and 28, in connection with the seizure. These men, along with Rueda, were booked into a Los Angeles County Jail and are facing state narcotics charges.
Cal-MMET seized the cocaine and currency. The estimated total of the currency seizure is $600,000.
To prevent the illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance in corridors of egress away from our Nation’s borders. To report suspicious activity to the U.S. Border Patrol, contact San Diego Sector at (619) 498-9900.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.