- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A Texas man suspected of being a courier for a Mexican drug cartel is scheduled for trial March 2 in federal court in Gulfport.

Prosecutors said Luis Miguel Aguilar-Gutierrez, 28, of Brownsville, Texas, is charged in a three-count indictment alleging interstate travel in aid of racketeering enterprises and bulk cash smuggling. He has pleaded not guilty.

Aguilar-Gutierrez has been held without bond since his arrest in September.

The Sun-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/1vs5EOw ) court records show Aguilar-Gutierrez is accused of trying to smuggle money out of the United States to escape currency-reporting requirements. In addition, he’s accused of assisting a Mexican drug cartel he claims threatened to harm his family.

Jackson County deputies stopped Aguilar-Gutierrez, driving a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup that was towing a 2001 Ford Expedition SUV, on Interstate 10 on Sept. 3. Deputies said he crossed into another lane while on the I-10 bridge over the Escatawpa River in Moss Point.

Court records show Aguilar-Gutierrez told deputies he’d been to Montgomery, Alabama, and bought the SUV for $2,500. Receipts in bags recovered in the vehicle showed he had been to Decatur, Alabama on Aug. 27-28 and the SUV was bought in July, according to court documents.

Deputies said they noticed tool marks under the SUV. There was no oil in the oil pan but something appeared to be stuck in there, they said.

Authorities took the SUV to the Gautier city barn, where they found 188 bundles of cash totaling $1.07 million wrapped in plastic in the oil pan and engine compartment.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, http://www.sunherald.com

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