Cheddar's employees among arrests in drug smuggling scheme
Fri, 29 Mar 2013 16:56:47 GMT —
Two employees at a popular McAllen restaurant are among four people arrested in a scheme to ship heroin and methamphetamines north.
Agents with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Criminal Investigations Division made the arrests on Wednesday.
Court records released on Friday reveal it all started with a simple traffic stop at 12:47 p.m. Wednesday.
A state trooper pulled over Carmen Muoz for driving an SUV with window tint that was too dark.
The trooper found a wooden laundry hamper with more than 12 pounds of methamphetamines inside.
Muoz told state troopers that she worked with Miguel Barbosa-Jimenez at Cheddar TMs restaurant off Expressway 83 in McAllen.
The 37-year-old Mission woman said Barbosa-Jimenez and his roommate Eutimio Diaz got her into the scheme.
Records show that the SUV Muoz was driving belonged to Barbosa-Jimenez.
Investigators put their Dallas Avenue apartment under surveillance and saw Alejandro Baltier-Carranza leaving at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
A search of Baltier-Carranza TMs revealed more than 11 pounds of heroin inside a wooden laundry hamper.
Authorities arrested Diaz when he returned to his apartment at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday.
Investigators searched his apartment but did not find any other drugs.
State troopers reported arresting Barbosa-Jimenez at work just after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Although the case started with DPS, a criminal complaint was filed in federal court due to the quanity of drugs involved.
Diaz told investigators he got paid $1,000 dollars per hamper and had sent at least 15 of them north in the past.
Barbosa-Jimenez allegedly told investigators that he got paid $500 dollars every time his SUV was used.
Muoz, Barbosa-Jimenez, Diaz and Baltier-Carranza all appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormbsy on Friday morning.
Court records show that Muoz is an American citizen while the other three are from Mexico.
Judge Ormbsy denied bond for all four of them until a Wednesday afternoon hearing.
Mangers at the McAllen restaurant forwarded all inquiries to the company's headquarters in Dallas.
Action 4 News spoke with Cheddar's spokesman Tom Koenigsberg via telephone.
Koenigsberg said the company is cooperating fully with investigators and released the following statment:
"Cheddar's is a quality family resturant and does not condone any illegal activity that negatively affects people in our community. We are unaware of any of the any of these alleged activities and are cooperating fully with the police."