On the morning of April 25, Jose Moreno Serrano pulled his Dodge SUV into a border checkpoint in Arizona, ostensibly on his way to work at the Mexican Consulate in nearby Yuma.
Using his consulate VISA and SENTRI pass — essentially a “fast pass” for frequent border crossers — Moreno quickly moved through security and into the United States at 7:42 a.m.
Less than an hour later, Moreno was arrested by federal officials for transporting 100 pounds of cocaine, hidden in a secret compartment in his SUV.
With a street value of more than $2.7 million, the bust was a significant haul for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. The arrest of Moreno — a low-level, consulate employee — highlights how deeply entrenched the drug cartels have become on both sides of the border.
Moreno, whose job at the consulate involved working with Mexican nationals involved in the U.S. criminal justice system, would later tell investigators “he was being paid $4,000 for the delivery,” which was his second that week.