Former Progreso soccer player charged with smuggling marijuana

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EDINBURG – Officers at the Progreso bridge caught a former high school soccer player with nearly 72 pounds of marijuana last month, according to the criminal complaint against him.

Hugo Hinojosa Jr., 17, of Progreso arrived at the international bridge on Dec. 6, 2019, driving a white Jeep Commander.

“I’m going to school in Progreso,” Hinojosa said, according to court records.

Hinojosa attended high school in Progreso, where he played on the boy’s soccer team. His father told investigators with the Hidalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force that Hinojosa moved to Mexico in October.

When he arrived at the bridge, Hinojosa said his cousin owned the Jeep. Hinojosa, though, said he didn’t know her address or telephone number.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducted a cursory inspection of the Jeep with a K-9 named “Toto.” The K-9 alerted.

Officers searched the Jeep and found 12 bundles of marijuana hidden "in a non-factory compartment in the rear interior of the vehicle," according to the criminal complaint.

Customs and Border Protection contacted Hidalgo County investigators, who approached Hinojosa at the bridge. He refused to provide a statement and was released.

Investigators interviewed his parents on Dec. 9.

“Hugo Sr. stated that on Friday his son called him to let him know that he had not been arrested,” according to court records, which include a summary of his father’s interview with investigators. His father said Hinojosa denied any wrongdoing.

After the marijuana bust, Hinojosa obtained his high school diploma. He graduated on Jan. 14, according to the Progreso school district.

Investigators, however, seized Hinojosa’s phone and found “several pictures of what appear to be bundles of marihuana, a picture of HINOJOSA, Hugo Jr. holding a large clear bag of what appeared to be marihuana and messages discussing the sale of marihuana.”

Hidalgo County also seized the Jeep and Hinojosa’s jewelry, which included a gold bracelet emblazoned with “Hugo Jr.,” a gold chain, a gold Versace ring and a gold-colored Armani watch.

Hinojosa is charged with possession of 50 to 2,000 pounds of marijuana, a second-degree felony. He was booked at the Hidalgo County jail on Jan. 20.

An attempt to contact Hinojosa through South Texas Bail Bonds, which posted his $10,000 bond, was unsuccessful. The person listed on jail records as Hinojosa’s emergency contact responded “Not interested thanks” in response to an inquiry about his arrest.


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