281 GRAMS: Officers discover at least $80,000 in cocaine strapped to woman’s right thigh after South Texas traffic stop

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A female passenger searched by authorities during a recent traffic stop was arrested on suspicion of a first degree drug felony when authorities found 281 grams of cocaine strapped to her right thigh.

By BEN TINSLEY

The Progress

GEORGE WEST — Authorities discovered 281 grams of cocaine strapped to the inside of a woman’s right thigh following a late March traffic stop inside town.

“The package she was carrying around her thigh was wrapped in cellophane,” explained George West Police Chief Rey Garcia. “It was vacuum-sealed and covered with saran wrap and duct tape so it wouldn’t hurt her.”

Katie DeLuna, 22,–a suspected “body carrier” believed to smuggling drugs over the Mexican border–was apprehended in George West shortly after the 11:40 p.m. March 27 stop and arrested on suspicion of first degree drug possession.

DeLuna was a passenger in a Ford Expedition believed to have been traveling in tandem with a second vehicle as they crossed the Texas-Mexico border.

As the two vehicles approached George West, a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety pulled over the second vehicle as George West police stopped the vehicle in which DeLuna was a passenger.

Chief Garcia said DeLuna called a lot of attention to herself during the George West stop by acting intoxicated and belligerent.

“She was really mouthy, and that raised a lot of red flags for our officers,” the chief said.

George West Police Det. Libby Shelton said the officer who made the stop is very seasoned and was instantly suspicious when DeLuna refused to be searched and kept asking to go to the bathroom.

“The driver had no license, and the other passenger was her (DeLuna’s) sister and had an outstanding warrant,” Det. Shelton said. “She (DeLuna) kept refusing a pat down and kept asking to go to the bathroom. But they eventually located a female officer to search her. When she realized she was going inside our jail no matter what, she admitted to the officer she had the drugs. Because if you go into jail without admitting it’s in your possession, it becomes another felony.”

The drugs are believed to have originated in Edinburg, which is nearly three hours and more than 150 miles away from George West.

Authorities said the two cars had also been stopped earlier at the Mexican border. The K-9 drug dogs reportedly went crazy during the search. But border patrol only searched their car, not them, and let them go after finding nothing, Det. Shelton said.

DeLuna made $10,000 bail on March 27. She could not be located to comment on the case.

Reyes said this type of “body carrier” was a first for his department–although he had heard about it happening elsewhere.

Ben Tinsley is a reporter for The Progress newspaper in Three Rivers, Tx. He can be contacted by email at theprogress@mysoutex.com or by phone at 361-786-3022. Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/BenTinsley or on Facebook,http://www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12.

 

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