December 6, 2022

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Mission man sent to prison for hiding kilos of heroin in floorboards

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 27-year-old man residing in Mission has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of possession with the intent to distribute nine kilograms of heroin, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.

Gerardo Torres pleaded guilty April 5.

Today, U.S. District Judge Drew B. Tipton ordered Torres to serve 48 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by four years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard additional evidence detailing how Torres was arrested in May 2021 for smuggling four undocumented individuals unlawfully present in the United States. During that crime, Torres fled from the police in a Ford Mustang reaching speeds of 105 mph.

On Sept.10, 2021, Torres arrived at the Javier Vega Jr. Border Patrol (BP) checkpoint while driving a white Nissan Sentra. At that time, authorities believed he was carrying illegal narcotics and referred him to secondary inspection.

They noticed tool marks on his passenger seat rails. Law enforcement moved the front passenger seat further back and found white overspray on the wires beneath the seat. They lifted the carpet off the floorboard, found a trap door with four vacuum-sealed bundles wrapped in clear cellophane within the compartment.

Authorities continued to search the driver’s side floorboard which revealed another trap door. Five bundles were beneath the second door with four wrapped in black electrical tape and one vacuum-sealed in clear cellophane. Both rear floorboards also had trap doors but were empty.

The nine bundles were later determined to be 9.086 kilograms of heroin with an estimated street value of $545,160.

Torres will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Drug Enforcement Administration conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Parker Gochenour and Liesel Roscher prosecuted the case.

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