In January, Casimiro Salinas drove his pickup truck into the Falfurrias checkpoint, at which time a routine K-9 exam resulted in an alert prompting border patrol agents to refer the vehicle to secondary for further inspection.
During a detailed inspection, agents located a hand built toolbox in the bed of the truck that, when opened, contained 60 bundles wrapped in black tape which tested positive for cocaine, according to official information.
At the time of the seizure, law enforcement officials estimated the cocaine had a value of approximately $4.7 million.
The continued investigation centered on a significant number of unexplained large cash transaction and cash purchases of real property.
Agents were able to locate several real properties purchased in Beeville, a condo purchased in Las Vegas, Nevada and several luxury vehicles purchased in Houston.
On Jan. 19, Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations agents executed a search warrant at the Salinas home in Beeville.
The agents located and seized numerous cash receipts, documents related to the purchases of real and personal assets, numerous unused paper currency straps, a heat sealing machine and used empty heat sealed packages containing the outline/impression of unknown currency.
The agents also seized two vehicles, a Lincoln Navigator and a Lexus, which had previously been identified.
Agents also identified a total of 12 cashier’s checks, used to purchase the Las Vegas condo, totaling more than $100,000, that were purchased with cash between January and February 2010 by Casimiro and Patsy Gail Salinas.
The cashier’s checks were each in the amount of $9,000 and purchased over several days at multiple bank locations to avoid the reporting requirements, according to official information.
In addition, the government has identified seven properties in Beeville and a condo in Las Vegas purchased by Casimiro and Patsy Salinas that are subject to forfeiture.
In custody since he was re-arrested on Jan. 19, 2012, Casimiro Salinas will remain in federal custody awaiting sentencing, at which time he faces a maximum life sentence and a maximum $10 million fine.
Released on bond after her arrest, Patsy Salinas will remain on bond awaiting her sentencing when she faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $500,000.
Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who accepted the guilty pleas Monday, has set sentencing for July 26.
The charges stem from an investigation by DEA, IRS-CI and BP. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lance Watt.