Louisiana firefighter accused of trying to smuggle 150 pounds of marijuana into US
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH - A firefighter has been accused of trying to sneak over 150 pounds of marijuana back into the country from Mexico.
According to The Advocate, St. John the Baptist Parish firefighter, Michael Moscona faces one count of drug possession and the intention to distribute 70.7 kilos of marijuana. A parish government spokeswoman said Monday that Moscona is on paid leave pending an internal disciplinary investigation.
A criminal complaint filed against Moscona alleges that Border Patrol agents stopped him at an immigration checkpoint north of McAllen, Texas, at about 6:35 a.m. on June 17. Moscona claimed he was on vacation with his family but was headed back home alone in a rental truck because the firefighting crew on which he worked was short-handed, the complaint said.
The complaint alleged that Moscona appeared to grow nervous as agents questioned him, including asking about a new toolbox in the bed of the truck. Moscona said he didn’t have the key to the toolbox, but agents forced it open after a drug-sniffing dog showed an interest in it, the complaint said.
Agents said they found 18 bundles of marijuana — roughly worth $150,000 — wrapped in black plastic. Moscona allegedly waived his right to remain silent and confessed that he was delivering marijuana from the Rio Grande Valley area to the Tangipahoa Parish community of Ponchatoula. According to the complaint, Moscona had made several such runs in previous months.
The agents arrested Moscona and confiscated a handgun in a bag on the front passenger seat.
A federal magistrate in Corpus Christi, Texas, on June 24 allowed Moscona to be released from jail on a $75,000 signature bond and to travel home. He could face prison time if he is eventually convicted as accused.
Moscona is a 15-year veteran of St. John’s Fire Department. He’s been a member of a team that has won a statewide firefighting drills competition multiple times.
Attempts to contact Moscona’s attorney on Monday were unsuccessful. Earlier, he told WWL-TV, who first reported on Moscona’s case, that he couldn’t comment because he hadn’t seen any evidence yet.
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