A drug courier who looked familiar to a state trooper in Gulfport has admitted he was traveling with a load of cocaine he’d picked up in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
Alfredo Ayala, 47, pleaded guilty Monday to interstate and foreign travel in aid of drug racketeering enterprises.
Ayala, by his own admission, had 13 of 20 kilos he’d picked up when a state trooper stopped a speeding vehicle April 18 on Interstate 10, court papers show.
A woman traveling with Ayala was driving and the state trooper remembered stopping the couple 10 days earlier. They made inconsistent statements that a Harrison County sheriff’s K9 exposed — 13 packages of cocaine were behind the back passenger seat, and each package weighed a kilo.
Thirteen kilos is about 28.7 pounds.
Ayala was up front with investigators, telling them he’s been a drug courier for 10 years, a document says. He said he’d picked up 20 kilos of cocaine from the Rio Grande Valley and dropped off seven kilos in Alice, Texas, leaving him with 13 kilos to deliver.
He faces up to five years in prison at his sentencing Nov. 17 in U.S. District Court. He has remained in custody.
Two traffic stops
Ayala and the woman had said they were returning to Texas from a vacation in Greenville, South Carolina, when the trooper pulled them over on April 8, a criminal complaint said.
On the second traffic stop, they said they were returning to Greenville for a second vacation. Suspicious comments were not included in the complaint, which says a refusal to search the vehicle led to the call for a K9 team.
The latest I-10 traffic stop was near Exit 34, which leads to U.S. 49 in Gulfport.
The woman, who was driving a 2015 Chevrolet pickup truck, was not arrested in the federal drug case.
Investigators determined she “truly had no idea of Ayala’s criminal activity,” said a Mississippi Highway Patrol officer assigned to the Gulfport-based Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force.