Crime & Courts

Man smuggled meth in kids’ car seats to try to pay baby’s medical bills

A Mexican undocumented immigrant has been sentenced to 51 month in federal prison for attempting to smuggle crystal meth in kids’ car seats — which he said was in an effort to pay his baby daughter’s medical bills, according to authorities and court records.

Israel Felix Garcia, 33, pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute the methamphetamine. The drugs were found during a Highway Patrol traffic stop on Oct. 3, on I-70 about 15 miles west of Topeka.

According to the plea agreement in the case, Garcia was traveling with his girlfriend and two children.

“He indicated that he was transporting the methamphetamine because he needed extra money to pay for the medical expenses of his newborn daughter,” the plea agreement said.

“He indicated that his girlfriend — who had been driving the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop — and her two children were with him on the trip for no specific reason, and had no knowledge of what was occurring.”

A search of the car found 10 green wrapped bundles of methamphetamine hidden in two child booster seats that were on the floor of the backseat, the document said. Five more bundles of meth were found under the rear speaker deck, for a total of 15 pounds of the drug.

“Garcia told investigators he was being paid $400 per bundle to drive the drugs from California to Topeka,” according to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney Stephen McAlister.

If he had made it to Topeka, Garcia would have made $6,000.

He told investigators it was the first time he had attempted to transport drugs. He said he was supposed to contact an unidentified individual when he got to Topeka to transfer the drugs to another car, the plea agreement said.

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