A McAllen man faces up to 10 years in federal prison in connection with federal smuggling goods charges after he was arrested at a port of entry last week, records show.
On Sept. 15, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents interviewed Luis Eduardo Mendoza Perez, a U.S. citizen, after he was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as he attempted to pass through the port on his way into Mexico.
He was referred for a secondary inspection after giving a negative declaration for any prohibited items.
During that stop, which took place at the Hidalgo port of entry, CBP agents discovered 200 “AR style” magazines within Mendoza’s vehicle, specifically underneath the back seat and inside the spare tire well area of the vehicle, the complaint against Mendoza states.
In the interview with HSI agents, Mendoza stated he was hired by an unknown person in Mexico to transport the magazines from the U.S. into Mexico. Mendoza told agents he was to be paid $2 per magazine, and expected to be paid $400 in this instance, the complaint states.
“Mendoza stated that he knew it was illegal to transport magazines into Mexico and that he did not have a license to export such items to Mexico,” the complaint states. “Mendoza admitted he had also smuggled magazines into Mexico on two previous occasions.”
Two days after his arrest, Mendoza made his initial appearance before a federal magistrate and requested to have counsel appointed, records show. Additionally, Mendoza consented to a videoconference detention hearing.
Mendoza is represented by counsel from the Federal Public Defender’s office, records show.
If convicted of smuggling goods from the United States, the 19-year-old McAllen man faces a fine and a maximum of 10 years in federal prison.