LAREDO, Texas – Federal charges have been filed against a Texas Army National Guardsman for stealing approximately 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Law enforcement arrested Edwin Baez, 20, of Cypress, Friday following the filing of sealed criminal complaint. He made his initial appearance in Laredo federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Song Quiroga today, at which time he was ordered detained pending a detention hearing set for Aug. 31 at 10:00.
Baez, a private with a Texas Army National Guard Unit stationed in Houston, is charged with theft of government property, conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute approximately 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine.
At the time of the alleged offense, Baez was deployed to Laredo to assist CBP at the World Trade Bridge by providing mission enhancing capabilities such as surveillance, reconnaissance, operational and logistics support.
According to the charge, on Aug. 1, 2018, Baez removed a picture frame he knew contained bundles methamphetamine that were hidden within it. He allegedly took the frame to a CBP dumpster for disposal, later returning to retrieve some of the methamphetamine. The criminal complaint alleges he took the drugs to his hotel room with plans to consume some of it and sell the remainder.
He was arrested following his release from the hospital for a drug-induced emergency.
The total value of the methamphetamine allegedly totals approximately $12,000.
If convicted of the drug charges, Baez faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison. He also faces up to 10 years if convicted of theft of government property.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of CBP. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Homero Ramirez is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.