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      Clean tires lead to $1.5 million in meth, vehicle chop shop

      Unusually clean tires led authorities to seize $1.5 million in meth and the discovery a drug vehicle chop shop just outside Edinburg. // CBP Photo

      Unusually clean tires led authorities to seize $1.5 million in meth and the discovery a drug vehicle chop shop just outside Edinburg.

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested Martin Noriega-Garza on federal drug charges on Wednesday.

      The 48-year-old man drove up from Mexico in a maroon 1995 Ford Ranger at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International Bridge.

      Court records show that customs officers sent him to secondary inspection after noticing his truck had unusually clean tires and a bed liner.

      Authorities allegedly found 35 packages with 119.7 pounds of methamphetamines worth more than $1.5 million dollars hidden inside.

      The court records show that Noriega-Garza told investigators that he was supposed to get paid $2,000 dollars to deliver drugs.

      Sting Operation

      The Reynosa man agreed to do a sting operation with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

      ICE agents watched as 46-year-old Agelio Cesar Cardenas went to pick up Noriega-Garza from the Jack-In-The-Box in the Las Milpas area of Pharr.

      Investigators allege that Cardenas was going to take the truck stuffed with drugs and take it to his ranch off Val Verde Road east of Edinburg.

      Cardenas claimed that his stepson asked him to give him a ride to the bridge.

      But Noriega-Garza told investigators that the ranch was used to take drug vehicles apart and that Cardenas had given him rides in the past.

      Court Appearance

      Both Noriega-Garza and Cardenas appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby on Thursday morning.

      Investigators told Action 4 News that Noriega-Garza is a Mexican national who lives in Reynosa.

      Court records show that Cardenas lives in the Las Milpas area of Pharr but owns the ranch off Val Verde Road in Edinburg.

      Cardenas told ICE agents that he TMs unemployed but they found $754 dollars in cash in his wallet.

      Judge Ormsby denied bond for both of them and ordered Noriega-Garza to appear for a bond hearing on Tuesday morning.

      Cardenas is expected back in court on Monday, June 11th.

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