A man who claimed to be an Army veteran on a trip to the VA hospital in San Antonio was arrested on Monday after Border Patrol says agents found a little more than 160 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in the roof of his vehicle.
Agents encountered Pablo Romero-Ramirez, a U.S. citizen born in 1971, at approximately 9:01 a.m. that day as the sole occupant in a silver 2007 Honda Element sport utility vehicle at the Border Patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias.
In a criminal complaint, Border Patrol says Romero told agents he was traveling from Reynosa to San Antonio.
“Romero claimed ownership of the Honda and stated he recently purchased the vehicle but did not have a bill of sale or know from whom the vehicle was purchased,” the complaint stated.
Border Patrol agents noted in the complaint that he appeared visibly nervous and said a drug-sniffing dog alerted to the present of narcotics.
When referred to secondary inspection, Border Patrol said he continued to be overly nervous and became agitated.
“Romero stated he was unemployed and traveling to San Antonio, Texas to visit his children and go to the VA hospital,” the complaint stated. “Romero stated he served seven years in the Army and left the service as an E4 specialist, but was wearing a Special Forces hat, which he claimed to have purchased on Amazon, and Marine camouflage pattern shorts.”
An X-ray of the vehicle revealed anomalies in the roof, according to the complaint.
“A physical search of the Honda located 114 packages of a substance that field tested positive for methamphetamine concealed in an aftermarket constructed concealed compartment encompassing the full roof of the vehicle,” the complaint stated.
Border Patrol said agents found the methamphetamine in 114 packages.
Romero declined to provide a statement, Border Patrol said.
He is scheduled to appear in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Scott Hacker on Thursday afternoon for probable cause and detention hearings.
Romero is currently in federal custody.
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