Trio charged with narcotics transfer at convenience store

Federal authorities over the weekend arrested and charged three men in reference to a narcotics transfer witnessed at a Stripes convenience store on Ruben M Torres Boulevard in Brownsville.

Procopio Rodriguez, of San Benito, Raul Perez-Lopez, of San Luis Potosi, and Ismael Cerda-Cardenas, of Matamoros, were arrested by Brownsville Drug Enforcement Administration agents after law enforcement observed Rodriguez pick up two grocery bags of suspected narcotics from Perez-Lopez’s semi truck.

According to a criminal complaint, agents were conducting tractor trailer interdiction efforts at the Stripes gas station located at 2305 FM 511 (Ruben M Torres Blvd) on Sept. 18 and witnessed a gray Jeep, whose driver was later identified as Rodriguez, pull up to a white semi-tractor with its hood up at the back of the gas station.

Agents watched the driver of the tractor trailer, later identified as Perez-Lopez, give Cerda Cardenas three filled, reusable grocery bags from the tractor trailer. Cerda-Cardenas handed them to Rodriguez, who then placed the bags in the back seat of the vehicle and departed the gas station at a high rate of speed, the complaint stated.

Officers attempted a traffic stop on Rodriguez after he failed to signal while switching lanes, but when they approached the Jeep, the engine started and authorities pursued the vehicle, “reaching speeds of approximately 110 mph”, agents wrote.

The high-speed chase ended at the intersection of Ruben M. Torres Boulevard and Old Alice Road when Rodriguez got out and evaded on foot, but officers detained him about 100 yards from the Jeep, stated the complaint.

Agents stated that once authorities confirmed the bags contained narcotics, they returned to the Stripes station and arrested Perez-Lopez and Cerda-Cardenas.

Authorities recovered a total of 26 bundles of cocaine from the Jeep, weighing about 102.7 pounds.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com