Mexican-American accused of smuggling vehicles into Mexico

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MATAMOROS, TAMAULIPAS.- Five men remained in the custody of federal authorities on allegations that at least four of them were trying to smuggle vehicles into Mexico, officials said.

Four of the men said they were being paid between $15 to $25 in the smuggling operation, according to federal criminal complaints.

Leoncio Sanchez Jr., 33, and Luis Eduardo Bermudez, 45, Martin Ricaldy Cabrieles, 58, all of Brownsville, and Alejandro Villarreal Cortez, 53, and Victor Manuel Villarreal, 22, both of Matamoros, appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald G. Morgan on a charge of knowingly attempting to export or send from the United States a motor vehicle contrary to law or regulation on the United States.

Bond was denied on each. Their next court appearance is scheduled for July 27.

According to the federal criminal complaints, each man tried to cross the vehicles on July 19 at Veterans International Bridge in Brownsville. Villarreal tried to export a 2004 Ford Ranger; Bermudez a 2010 Ford Escape; Ricalday Cabriales a 2011 Ford Edge; Villarreal Cortez a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta and Sanchez a 2003 Chevrolet Silverado, according to authorities.

According to the federal criminal complaints, each of the men stated they did not have the legal documents to export the vehicles. They all failed to provide the documentation to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers 72 hours prior to export as required by law, according to authorities.

Bermudez said he was being paid $15 for each vehicle he smuggled; and Victor Manuel Villarreal, Ricalday Cabrieles, and Villarreal Cortez $25 for each vehicle they smuggled, according to the federal criminal complaint. In his federal criminal complaint, Sanchez did not mention if he was being paid to export the Chevrolet Silverado.

Source: Diario de Matamoros

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