Meth found in art frames shipped to Oakland store from Mexico
A package delivered to an Oakland store from Mexico contained two large framed pictures of religious figures and about a kilogram of methamphetamine, according to court documents unsealed Friday in federal court.
Michael O'Neill, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, said in an affidavit that the person who picked up the package on Aug. 28 admitted receiving another picture the week before.
U.S. Magistrate Cynthia Reed Eddy found probable cause during a Thursday preliminary hearing to hold Carmel Rojas-Perez, age unavailable, pending trial on a smuggling charge. Rojas-Perez waived a detention hearing and is being held without bail.
Rojas-Perez told agents he came to the country illegally in 1993 and a friend in Mexico named Angel sent the frames, according to the affidavit.
Customs officers initially intercepted the package at the FedEx hub in Memphis, O'Neill said in his affidavit. It was on its way from Toluca, Mexico, to the Las Palmas store on Atwood Street in Oakland. Discovering the white powder secreted in the picture frames, they sealed the package and gave it to Homeland Security Investigations so agents could conduct a controlled delivery.
State Trooper Joshua Giran, working undercover as a parcel delivery man, allowed the store owner to sign for the package. The owner set it on a shelf and Rojas-Perez showed up about four hours later to collect it, the affidavit said.
Agents waited until Rojas-Perez took it into a second-floor apartment before arresting him and conducting a search. The frames of the pictures were hollow and contained long, black packages of meth, the affidavit said.
Brian Bowling is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-325-4301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lower Burrell man charged with shoplifting
- Linebacker Harrison coming along slowly since return to Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Shazier returns just in time
- Critics claim state Attorney General Kane puts politics first
- Corbett, Wolf resort to sticks, stones to attract attention
- Ferrante trial: Cyanide order form in plain sight
- Penn State seeks recruiting win in ‘whiteout’ game
- Pens look to buck shots, goals trend
- Zappala impersonation suspect arrested; stores offered reimbursement
- Pitt puts focus to test in jumbled ACC Coastal race
- Penguins notebook: Carcillo has no hard feelings after failing to make roster