Enticing Social Media Ad Lures Man to Take Drug Smuggling Job

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WESLACO – A man accused of moving drugs through a Rio Grande Valley port of entry says it all started online through a Facebook ad looking for drivers.

The sum of $5,000 and the possibility of a free vehicle lured Dallas native Nicholas John Zotos into a drug smuggling job back in April 2017, according to a federal complaint.

All he needed to do was drive to Mexico and back.

This job is in high demand along the border, says former FBI agent and current security consultant Arturo Fontes.

"Because McAllen, even the border like Laredo, has gaps where they need drivers,” said Fontes.

Drug smugglers need people to transport drugs.

Fontes said, "It's mostly on the border, people want to bring merchandise from Mexico into the U.S. or from the border take it up north, it's more common."

Zotos bought and registered a truck in Houston under his name. He, and others he worked with, reportedly drove it to Laredo, then Rio Grande City and finally Mexico.

While in Mexico, someone took the truck and returned it later.

When Zotos tried crossing it through the port of entry at Rio Grande City, 55 pounds of cocaine were found inside the tires of the truck.

Fontes said, "Some of these drivers are most likely innocent and they're caught with a drug load. Unfortunately, some of them if they have a prior and they get caught with drugs and they were unwitting, it could be unfavorable to the driver."

This smuggling attempt ends in a sentence.

Zotos entered a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to one count of intentionally and knowingly importing drugs. He's scheduled to receive his sentence Thursday.

Fontes warns these kinds of ads are also posted on places like Craigslist and even Snapchat.

He advises prospective employees vet the companies hiring them before becoming employees.


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