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      Reynosa man claims drug dealers cut off his toe, threatened family

      CBP Photo

      A Reynosa man, his wife and another woman are behind bars on federal drug smuggling charges but he claims drug dealers cut off his toe and forced him to do it.

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers arrested Atanacio Garcia-Montes, his wife Maria de los Angeles Mireles-Escalona and Maria Edelia Casillas de Gaytan on Thursday.

      The three drove up from Reynosa in a 2000 Ford Expedition at the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission.

      Court records show that both Mireles-Escalona and Casillas de Gaytan were wearning summer dresses that are sometimes used to conceal drugs.

      Customs officers found six bundles with 14 pounds of cocaine worth $460,000 dollars under their clothes.

      Husband TMs Version

      Montes-Garcia told U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents that he was forced into smuggling drugs.

      He claims drug dealers came to his business in Reynosa and took him to an isolated road where they told him they needed his help smuggling drugs.

      Montes-Garcia declined but the men told him they would give him a week to think about it.

      The 52-year-old Reynosa man claims the drug dealers came to his home one week later, cut off his toe and threatened his family to gain his cooperation.

      Montes-Garcia told authorities that he delivered drugs to people waiting for him outside businesses in McAllen and Pharr at least three times.

      The Reynosa man said he got paid at least $200 dollars per trip and that the Thursday TMs smuggling attempt was supposed to be the last.

      Wife TMs Version

      Mireles-Escalona initially told investigators that her family had been threatened but changed her story.

      She claimed her husband was a drug addict and smuggled drugs because he needed the money.

      Mireles-Escalona reported her husband TMs toe was amputated at a Reynosa hospital after he contracted gangrene due to his diabetes.

      The 50-year-old Reynosa woman said the smuggling attempt was the fourth time they had done so.

      Other Version

      Court records don TMt show how Casillas de Gaytan knew Montes-Garcia or his wife but she also initially claimed they had been threatened to smuggle drugs.

      But Casillas de Gaytan changed her story.

      The 50-year-old Reynosa woman claims that Montes-Garcia approached her and asked her to help them smuggle drugs.

      She initially declined but later agreed because she was supposed to get paid.

      Casillas de Gaytan said it was her first time to smuggle drugs.

      Court Appearance

      All three of them appeared before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Peter Ormsby on Friday morning.

      Court records show all three of them are Mexican nationals.

      Judge Ormsby denied bond for all three of them until a Wednesday morning hearing.