Cuban fugitive facing drug charges caught after allegedly trying to flee US by boat | USAO-SDTX

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A Cuban national has made another appearance in federal court following the return of a superseding indictment related to the distribution of cocaine, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

Osvaldo Iglesias Ruiz, 34, is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 10 kilograms of cocaine.

Ruiz was originally charged by criminal complaint in March. He made an initial appearance on those charges, but was granted release upon posting bond. Shortly thereafter, authorities caught him as he was allegedly attempting to flee the United States in a boat off the coast of Florida heading towards Cuba. He appeared in court today and ordered into custody pending further criminal proceedings.

According to the criminal complaint, on March 14, Ruiz approached the Javier Vega Jr. checkpoint in Sarita traveling northbound. He was allegedly driving a tractor-trailer, but without an attached trailer. The complaint alleges he  provided authorities inconsistent answers pertaining to the direction he was traveling. A K-9 also alerted to the rear differential of the vehicle, according to the charges.

He was then referred to secondary inspection where authorities allegedly discovered multiple cocaine bundles weighing more than 10 kilograms.

The drugs have an estimated street value of $250,000.

If convicted, Ruiz faces up to life in federal prison and a possible $10 million maximum fine.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with the assistance of Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Coast Guard. Assistant U.S. Attorney Neel Kapur is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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