Times Staff Writer
January 7, 2005
A U.S. Border Patrol agent who led federal authorities on a high-speed chase through the Imperial Valley was arrested early Wednesday after agents allegedly found nearly 750 pounds of marijuana in his government vehicle.
The arrest culminated a surveillance operation by the FBI and inspector general's office of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego.
The Border Patrol agent, Luis Francisco Higareda, was seen by a federal agent meeting another vehicle at the U.S.-Mexico border near Calexico, according to the complaint. The other vehicle was on the Mexican side. Suspecting that a cross-border exchange had occurred, agents gave chase.
About 20 miles later, the pursuit ended in Holtville. Agents allegedly found drugs packed into 10 duffel bags. Also arrested with Higareda was a Mexican illegal immigrant, Marcelino Verdugo-Cota, authorities said.