Tony Shin/Alex Vasquez
A Tijuana police officer is facing drug smuggling charges after being found with drugs in his car by Border Patrol officers near Temecula. Tony Shin reports from Murrieta for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.
A Mexican cop was arrested in Riverside County and is awaiting arraignment on federal drug trafficking charges after allegedly transporting almost 20 pounds of narcotics.
Noe Raygoza-Garcia, a 33-year-old Tijuana police officer, was arrested on Mar. 13 after federal officials noticed him driving erratically on Interstate 15 near the Border Patrol checkpoint north of Temecula.
"Once he came across those border patrol agents he slowed drastically or noticeably," Special Assistant US Attorney Carlo Dicesare said.
Authorities found more than 13 pounds of heroin and more than six pounds of methamphetamine in the Dodge Neon that Raygoza was driving.
"They determined that the vehicle had crossed over the US-Mexico border approximately an hour and a half prior to that," Dicesare said.
Interstate 15 is considered a popular highway for drug smugglers because it connects to other major freeways and can take drugs all across the country, according to an NBCLA report.
Border Patrol agents in the San Diego sector, which include the Temecula checkpoint and the San Onofre checkpoint on Interstate 5, seized 47,822 pounds of marijuana, 827 pounds of cocaine and 1,250 pounds of meth in 2013 and made more than 27,000 arrests that year.
Raygoza is expected to appear in federal court on Wednesday for arraignment.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.