Mexican national is held without bail on drug trafficking charges in Hawaii

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A man was ordered held without bail on Tuesday, July 18th, on charges that he helped a drug trafficking organization move methamphetamine and money between Hilo, Mexico, and California.

Luis Miguel Castro-Alavez, relying on a Spanish-­language interpreter, appeared Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield after Hawaii island police and a Homeland Security Investigations special agent found him with 11 pounds of meth that he allegedly received through the mail June 28 at a Hilo Airbnb.

Castro-Alavez was allegedly following orders from his handlers in Mexico.

In granting the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion to detain Castro-Alavez until trial, Mansfield determined there “is no condition or combination of conditions that will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required and the safety of the community, ” according to federal court records.

Castro-Alavez is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in his case at 10:30 a.m. July 27 in Mansfield’s court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara D. Ayabe, who is prosecuting the case for the government, declined comment. First Assistant Federal Public Defender Craig W. Jerome did not immediately reply to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser request seeking comment.

Castro-Alavez, aka Jesus Malverde, through an interpreter, allegedly told a Homeland Security Investigations special agent that a Mexican man approached him in a California nightclub on June 15 and recruited him for “work ” in Hilo, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

Castro-Alavez, who is “a citizen of a foreign country or unlawfully admitted person, ” thought that meant manual labor but realized the work was to “help facilitate the movement of drug money and a drug shipment.”

Members of the organization gave Castro-Alavez a plane ticket, a fake Lawful Permanent Resident Card, and a wallet-sized photograph of his new identity, Jesus Malverde.

The LPR card had Castro-­Alavez’s photo and another person’s identifying information. Castro-Alavez was told to use the LPR card to conduct transactions at Western Union.

Jesus Malverde is widely recognized as the “patron saint of drug trafficking and smuggling ” and is believed to provide safety and protection for workers in the illegal drug trade.

Castro-Alavez allegedly told investigators that he received Whats App messages from Mexican country codes that instructed him how to pick up methamphetamine and mail or wire money back to California and Mexico.

Source: Honolulu Star

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