Feds charge alleged cocaine traffickers in Texarkana

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Federal officials in Texarkana have charged two people arrested last month for allegedly possessing more than 10 kilos of cocaine.

Myrna Guadalupe Corrujedo, 34, and Manuel Hernandez, 60, were taken into custody Aug. 9 following a traffic stop in Interstate 30 near Mount Pleasant, Texas. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper noticed the two appeared nervous and gave an “implausible story” regarding the reason for their travel, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas federal court this month.

Corrujedo was driving a recently purchased 2010 Mercury Marquis with Michigan plates which was registered in Hernandez’s name. The complaint states that the trooper observed “religious paraphernalia that is commonly possessed by those in the drug trade,” and that they were untruthful about their criminal histories.

After getting consent from Corrujedo and Hernandez to search the car, the trooper noticed paint that wasn’t consistent with the original manufacturer’s in an area located behind the backrest of the rear bench seat and recent tooling marks on bolts that affix the seatbelt anchors to the floor of the car. After moving the car to the DPS office in Mount Pleasant, DPS officers and members of the Mount Pleasant Fire Dept., discovered a hidden compartment between the fuel cell and rear wall of the car.

Inside officers found 12 bundles wrapped in cellophane and axle grease which allegedly contained more than 10 kilograms of powder cocaine. The axle grease is commonly used by drug traffickers to mask the smell of the drugs.

Hernandez and Corrujedo were ordered detained by U.S. Magistrate Judge Caroline Craven at hearings held Thursday in Texarkana. Craven appointed Texarkana attorney Craig Henry to represent Corrujedo and Longview attorney Charles VanCleef to represent Hernandez. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross is representing the government.

If found guilty of trafficking more than five kilos of cocaine, both Hernandez and Corrujedo faces 10 years to life in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million. The minimum punishment increases to 20 years if there is a prior conviction for a felony drug offense and the maximum fine increases to $20 million.

Both are being held in the Titus County jail in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

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