MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Two UPS employees and others from the Rio Grande Valley have been arrested and accused of transporting packages of cocaine through the company, U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani reported.
Orlando Candelario Almanza, 49, of Edinburg, and Fidencio Salinas Jr., 51, of Pharr, were set to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nadia S. Medrano Monday morning.
Federal agents say Almanza and Salinas are both allegedly UPS employees who knowingly transported the packages of cocaine.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Javier Enrique Mendoza, 48, of Pharr, and Jose Felipe Lozano, 58, of Edinburg, were arrested last week and already made their appearances in court on similar charges.
Enrique Bernardo Gamez, 45 of Hidalgo, was already in custody on related charges and will make his court appearance at a later date.
All five were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine, according to the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Between March 24, 2022, and Oct. 3, 2022, the indictment alleges the five conspired to transport cocaine through UPS packages on multiple occasions.
The charges also allege Mendoza provided the packages of cocaine to UPS employees, while Lozano allegedly provided fraudulent labels for the packages. Gomez would then store the cocaine at his residence prior to transport, the charges allege.
When caught, law enforcement seized 132 pounds of cocaine.