Xolos reserve soccer player charged with smuggling meth from Mexico – The San Diego Union-Tribune
A player for a professional soccer club in Tijuana has been arrested at the border and accused of trying to smuggle methamphetamine into the United States.
Daniel Gomez, a defender with Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente’s reserve team, was arrested early in the morning on April 5 and charged with importing a controlled substance. According to a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California in San Diego, he tried to bring in nearly 48-pounds of packaged meth.
After a hearing on Tuesday a judge ordered Gomez to remain detained because of a flight risk, according to court records and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The Xolos did not return a request for comment, and a voicemail message left with Gomez’s attorney was not returned.
Gomez, a U.S. citizen, is the most recent high-profile arrest in suspected cross-border crime this year, following politicians and the family members of famous entertainers.
Gomez was arrested after he tried to enter the U.S. from Mexico at the Otay Mesa border crossing in his Chrysler Seabring, and he told a Customs and Border Protection officer that he was traveling to the U.S. to work. The officer searched Gomez’s car, and noticed that the spare tire in its trunk had hard spots and wasn’t the usual weight, court records say.
The car was inspected more thoroughly with an X-ray machine, and a second CBP officer saw “anomalies” in the spare tire, which upon additional scrutiny, seemed too heavy. An officer cut the spare open and found 23 packages made of plastic wrap, carbon paper, cardboard and packing tape. A probe found a crystal substance that later tested positive for meth, court records say.
Special agents from the Department of Homeland Security interviewed Gomez, and he told them that he owned the Chrysler but had traded it away three months ago to an unnamed person, and then traded again to get it back around a month ago, court records say.
He told the agents that he had left his home in Tijuana and planned to have breakfast at a Denny’s restaurant by himself in National City before returning to Mexico for soccer practice later that morning. Gomez “claimed he did not know anything about the drugs in the vehicle,” according to records.
He was then arrested and charged with importing a controlled substance.
CBP inspected the car again and found 11 more packages in the panels. In all, the 34 packages weighted 47.75 pounds, records show.
Gomez’s arrest follows others at the border that recently have attracted attention.
Edgar Veytia, the attorney general for the Mexican state of Nayarit, was arrested on March 27 as he tried to enter the U.S. at Otay Mesa. In the indictment, Veytia, who is also a Chula Vista resident, is accused of conspiring to make, distribute and import heroin, cocaine and marijuana. He is being held in New York on charges filed there.
Jose Emiliano Aguilar, the son of popular mariachi Pepe Aguilar, was charged with trying to smuggle Chinese citizens into the U.S. at the San Ysidro border. He was arrested on March 14 after CBP officers found the unauthorized immigrants in his car’s trunk at the border crossing.
Luis Torres Santillan, a Tijuana City Council member, was arrested at the border on Dec. 16. According to court documents, money from criminal activities was smuggled from Mexico into the United States, deposited into banks, and then transferred back into Mexico. That investigation is being led by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Narcotics Task Force.
While Torres primarily lives in Tijuana, his attorney said he also has a house in Coronado, and his wife is a teacher in Chula Vista.