Fully Loaded Van For Sale: Teens Arrested In Mexico After Drugs Found In Van Purchased At Government Auction

2004-toyota-sienna-frontside_ttsiele041Buying vehicles at government auctions can come with obvious perils that range from past damage to poor maintenance to wear and tear. However, the Duarte family appears to have discovered another peril when they unwittingly smuggled drugs from the U.S. to Mexico. Sergio Torres Duarte, 18, and his 19-year-old friend Julio Cesar Moreno were arrested after being stopped on their way to a soccer match near the resort city of Mazatlan and police found 2.2 pounds of cocaine beneath the dashboard of their blue 2004 Toyota Sienna. While we do not see many cases of people smuggling drugs from the United States to Mexico, the teens were arrested despite their pleas of innocence. Torres Duarte’s father, also named Sergio Torres, did some research and found that the van was seized in a drug raid and police found drugs, but apparently missed some before sending the vehicle for auction. Nevertheless, the boys remain in a Mexican jail.

Torres bought the van for $3,900 through a friend at a Customs and Border Protection auction in February 2012 in McAllen, Texas. Customs agents had found five bundles of cocaine during an inspection at the international bridge in Pharr, Texas, in October 2011. Notably, every brick of the drug had the word “Good” written with a black marker. That is exactly the appearance of the drugs found under the dashboard of the van by the Mexican police.

To their credit, the U.S. government has admitted the likely error on their part and written a letter to the Mexican police that “Torres Duarte could have had the cocaine without knowing when he was arrested driving the car in Mexico.”

As the article below indicates, this is not the first such auction car that resulted in criminal charges for the purchaser from the auction. In one case, a person was given a five-year sentence in Mexico for drugs in such a vehicle before it was acknowledged as a mistake.

What is truly maddening is that the kids remain in jail despite the letter from the U.S. They have missed their graduations from high school and have been left in the notorious Mexican prison population for seven months. Rather than seek to dismiss the charges, Mexican prosecutors are asking for more time to present their cases against the boys.

Should the boys be able to sue the United States government? After all, the government sold them a van that was loaded with narcotics. The government will argue that it did a reasonable inspection and had every interest in finding the cocaine. Moreover, such sales are closed on an “as is” basis which apparently includes such problems as worn brake pads, bad window wipers, and occasional hidden troves of illegal drugs.

Source: Washington Post

18 thoughts on “Fully Loaded Van For Sale: Teens Arrested In Mexico After Drugs Found In Van Purchased At Government Auction”

  1. Usually I do not read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to
    take a look at and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me.

    Thanks, quite great article.

  2. The fact the U.S. won’t intervenes is more evidence that they are intent
    on stripping our freedoms. They are advancing towards martial law. They will take no accountability and are content to let any government incarcerate anyone they want, regardless of citizenship. In fact they are determined to make all of us world citizens and fall under the jurisdiction of any court in the world.

    My prayers will go out to the boys and the families of each one. Also pray for the prosecutor that God will soften his heart and turn his brain on.


  3. The U.S. Government is highly involved in the matter of Sergio Duarte & Julio Moreno because of initially failing to confiscate all of the cocaine during the October 2011 inspection at international bridge in Parr. However, I don’t think they will be held liable for a mistake that they may or may not have made.

    Considering the U.S openly admitted that they could have made this kind of gaffe; a U.S. official has made an effort to get the teens freed with a letter written to Mexican police because officials are aware that the teens should be unconfined, and released back to their parents. Mexican officials should be held liable for not releasing the teens after knowingly received this information from U.S officials.

  4. File suite? Absolutely and I hope they win big, very big, very very big. Will such a win mean anything to the government? likely not. They print money so they can just leave the printing press on for a few seconds more.

    However…how about charging the supervisor of the group that sold the van with dealing in narcotics? After all, did they not sell the cocaine to the kids?

  5. AY, A Ferrari gets bad enough mileage w/o 6 kilos of coke sucking in the fuel. You could sell that coke saying, “It’s incendiary man!”


  7. This is the outrageous result of police CONFISCATION, the laws which allow police to steal personal belongings and directly benefit from these institutionalized crimes against the public. No matter the purported crime, the police agency involved in an alleged crime discovery should absolutely NOT, under any circumstances be permitted to keep, sell, or acquire anything associated with the public’s interaction with the police EVER, EVER, EVER. It is a complete corruption of police power, not to mention, just plain integrity. The slime is oozing from the swamp.

  8. @ rtc yep @ nick lmao i totally agree with you im now thinking of doing the same ty for the laugh it was needed.

  9. And obviously the van was confiscated…again ?

    The auctioneer should be considered the dealer?

    This is pure “trafficking”

  10. Nick,

    As Pete has stated…. This is not the first time….. A guy I heard about bought a Ferrari at an action….he kept running out of gas…. After about 2 months of running out of gas he took it into a dealership to find out why…. Well… Lo and behold…. 6 kilos were lodged in the gas tank….one could say this was a hi octane vehicle….. Cops were called, he was charged with possession and eventually the case was dismissed….as Darren noted…. The government can be liable in some instances….

  11. The US Government is liable.

    If this vehicle was obtained pursuant to a drug arrest a reasonable officer would have put a drug dog through the car and a load of coke that large would have most likely been discovered. They should have done this on every vehicle seized resulting from drugs because smuggling is how it is transported.

    This is not a case of a fleet vehicle from a government agency somehow had the drugs in it and nobody could have foreseen this but with a drug seizure it is likely to have some.

    Plus did the gov’t disclose prior to the sale it was possible the car might have drugs in it?

    The gov’t had best be preparing itself to get these boys out of jail, home and start working on a good settlement.

  12. If I am a coke user or dealer, I’m buying all my vehicles @ ICE auctions and stripping those SOB’s! It’s the Cracker Jack surprise of minivans.

  13. Some might call it paying a ransom, but others might simply call it bribing officials to drop charges and let some obviously innocent kids out of prison and go home. Tomato, tomahto. The wheels of Mexican justice turn more quickly when greased with bribes.

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