ALPINE- Two West Texas men have been arrested and are accused of trafficking bundles of marijuana that were found on a Van Horn School bus last year. Federal Agents told NewsWest 9, the pair saw a window of opportunity to smuggle the drugs.
A drug investigation that spanned seven months comes to a close after the four bundles of marijuana, that totaled 480 pounds, were found abandoned on the bus. At the time, no one knew who put them there until now.
"We indicted two individuals, with the United States Attorney's office guidance, for this Anthony Paredez-Juarez, 22, of Odessa, TX, and George Jacob Cosme-Baird, 20, of Presidio, TX, for one count of attempted possession of between 100 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and one count of possession with intent to distribute between 100 kilograms and 1,000 kilograms of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, namely Presidio High School," Bernard Bolf, Alpine DEA Resident Agent in Charge, said.
The DEA believes the drugs may have came from Mexico, were smuggled through the border and tried to make their way up north. The Juarez Cartel has the most controlled territory just south of the Big Bend. Officials didn't specify if the drugs belonged to them or if the two individuals have any ties to organized crime.
NewsWest 9 asked the Presidio School District Superintendent how could drugs be placed on a school bus when they apparently have tremendous school security, since they're so close to the border.
"The problem with answering that question is it tends to point a finger, one direction or another. And I don't think any one of us is ready to do that. We are all victims of this situation and where we're going here. I don't think blame should be put on school district or another. I know our parking lots are monitored and we have cameras. In order for this to be done without being caught on camera, it probably had to be parked where the cameras weren't there," Presidio ISD Superintendent, Dennis McEntire, said. "How that happened or where it happened, I'm not going to go there, I think that they just took advantage of an opportunity."
The DEA says neither administrators, students or employees of either Van Horn or Presidio school districts had anything to do with this case. Officials say Juarez and Baird had no ties being employed with either school districts.
If convicted they face a minimum of five years in federal prison per count and a fine that soars into the millions. They're expected to back in federal court in Alpine next Wednesday.
11320 West County Road 127
Midland, Texas, 79711