Sentencing set for driver of tractor trailer stuffed with cocaine

Speeding violation led to discovery of nearly 70 kilos

A court has scheduled a sentencing hearing for a man who has pleaded guilty to the distribution of a controlled substance, records show.

Fernando Alexis Perez faces between 10 years and life in prison for his role in an attempt to smuggle more than 65 kilos of cocaine utilizing a tractor trailer to move the illegal shipment.

Perez, 38, was arrested last October after a routine speeding infraction led to the discovery of nearly 70 kilograms of cocaine inside the vehicle he was driving, the federal complaint filed against Perez states.

On Oct. 27, 2019, Palmview Police pulled over Perez, driving a tractor trailer, for allegedly speeding through the city, and subsequently called federal agents to the scene upon suspecting the man may be concealing illegal narcotics, records show.

“Law enforcement received information that a tractor trailer matching the description and location of the tractor trailer that was traffic stopped (sic) was possibly transporting narcotics,” the document states.

Perez, during the stop, gave authorities permission to search the vehicle.

“A Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office Deputy arrived with his service canine to conduct the search. The canine alerted to the sleeper cab area of the tractor,” the complaint states. “A subsequent search of the cab revealed duffel bags, clearly visible from inside the cab, located on the bunk beds of the sleeper area.”

Law enforcement noted the bags were located within proximity of the driver’s seat, commingled with Perez’s belongings. Inside were 56 bundles wrapped in black tape with a total weight of just a little more than 66 kilograms, the record shows.

In addition to the illegal narcotics found, law enforcement found a cash counting machine that was also located on top of the bed close to the duffel bag, the document states.

Perez was arrested, and was transferred over to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents where he refused to provide a statement.

Perez, who pleaded guilty to the distribution charge in February, was scheduled for sentencing in August, but that was rescheduled, records show.

Editor’s note: This report was updated to reflect the correct amount of prison time the defendant is facing.