Men use marijuana bundles as flotation devices

Five men discovered crossing the Brownsville Ship Channel using bundles of marijuana as floatation devices were arrested and charged over the weekend.

U.S. Coast Guard officers patrolling the channel on Sept. 19 along Highway 48 in Brownsville observed Jose Alejandro Salinas-Romero, of Honduras, and Luis Enrique Mendoza, Rolando Estrada-Odwardo, Aaron Joaquin Lopez-Briseno, and Antelmo Sanchez-Garrido, all of Matamoros, each utilizing large bundles to stay afloat as they crossed the channel, stated a criminal complaint.

USCG officers approached the five men and brought them, alongside the bundles, on board a Coast Guard vessel, wrote a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent.

The complaint alleged that the bundles emanated a strong odor of marijuana, prompting USCG to make contact with the DEA office in Brownsville for federal prosecution.

Lopez-Briseno, Sanchez-Garrido, and Mendoza each stated they would be paid between $250 and $350 each to “backpack a bundle of narcotics from Mexico to the United States”, the agent wrote.

The document stated that Estrada-Odwardo refused to speak with agents, and in total, the bundles of marijuana weighed about 321.8 pounds.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com