Rubén Cantú-Rodríguez/Conexión Del Río

DEL RIO – A 26-year-old Mexican woman, who was arrested in the Eagle Pass port of entry while hauling a $500,000 load of methamphetamine, will remain incarcerated in the Val Verde County/GEO Corrections facility, after being denied bail during her preliminary hearing held on Monday, August 15, 2016 in the U.S. Court in Del Rio, Texas.

Lucia Manaby Villarreal Barrera, who has been linked to a congressman of the state of Coahuila, Mexico, appeared on Monday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge, Victor Garcia.

Villarreal, who is 7 months pregnant, was arrested on August 6, 2016 at about 10:25 a.m., when CBP officers at Camino Real International Bridge in Eagle Pass, Texas, inspected a 2013 Ford Escape arriving from Mexico. Officers utilized a non-intrusive imaging system for inspection and a K-9.

CBP officers retrieved 19 packages of alleged methamphetamine hidden within the floor area of the vehicle. The cargo totaled 28.35 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $567,023.12.

Villarreal, a resident of Monclova, has been linked to Coahuila congressman Ricardo Saldivar. According to media reports the vehicle was registered under Saldivar, whose daughter, Alejandra Saldivar, had been traveling to San Antonio along with Villarreal.

Ricardo Saldivar denied any wrongdoing and said the vehicle was registered under Villarreal.

Abigail Villarreal, mother of Lucia Manaby Villarreal, held a press conference in Monclova where she said that Alejandra, Ricardo Saldivar’s daughter, had encouraged Lucia to get a U.S. visa, and even paid the cost of it a few months back.

Abigail also pointed out that Lucia does not own an SUV like the one the drugs were found in.

The case is currently under investigation by Homeland Security Investigations special agents.