FRESNO — A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted a 30-year-old man suspected of smuggling about 2 pounds of methamphetamine while trying to board a plane at the Modesto Airport last month on a trip that would take him to Hawaii.
Oscar Luis Rodriguez was charged with possession of meth with the intent to distribute the drugs, according to the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento. If convicted, Rodriguez would face a maximum sentence of life in federal prison and a $20 million fine.
Just before 6 a.m. Jan. 31, Rodriguez was pulled aside by Transportation Security Administration agents for a pat-down after his luggage tested positive for nitrates or trace explosives.
During the pat-down, the TSA agents could tell Rodriguez was concealing something in his pants, so a Modesto police officer was called to question him. Rodriguez was told to sit and wait.
The officer asked Rodriguez if he was carrying anything illegal. Rodriguez answered that he was carrying drugs, but he didn't know what kind of drugs they were, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Fresno.
The officer then found in Rodriguez's pants two plastic bags containing the meth. The bags were wrapped in clear plastic. Federal prosecutors said the combined weight of the packaging materials and meth was 2.68 pounds.
Modesto police said one package was strapped to the front of his pelvis and the other to the back, held in place by three pairs of underwear.
Rodriguez had boarding passes for flights from Modesto to San Francisco and from San Francisco to Maui, Hawaii.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.