News Release
July 30, 2007
Thomas Murphy

California Man Indicted for Cocaine

JUL 30 -- SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a San Diego, Calif., man was indicted by a federal grand jury today for possession with intent to distribute cocaine after 25 kilograms of cocaine was found in his truck during a compliance inspection at a Newton County, Mo., weigh station.

Benjamin Perez-Barrios, 46, a citizen of Mexico residing in San Diego, was charged in a federal indictment returned by a grand jury in Springfield. Today’s indictment replaces a federal criminal complaint that was filed against Perez-Barrios on July 6, 2007.

The federal indictment alleges that Perez-Barrios was in possession with the intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine on July 5, 2007, in Newton County.

According to an affidavit filed in support of the original criminal complaint, Perez-Barrios was pulled aside for a compliance inspection at a weigh station on eastbound Interstate 44 in Newton County. During a search of his tractor-trailer unit, the affidavit says, a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer found a green nylon duffle bag containing 25 kilogram-sized bundles of cocaine beneath a blanket under the sleeper berth of the tractor unit.

The federal indictment contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Perez-Barrios to forfeit to the government any property used to commit the alleged offense or any property derived from the alleged offense, including the 2000 Freightliner tractor unit and approximately $1,366 seized at the time of his arrest.

Wood cautioned that the charge contained in the indictment is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Garrison. It was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Carthage, Mo., Police Department.