A former Tijuana municipal judge was sentenced on Monday July 2 to just over three years in prison for smuggling 38 pounds of cocaine across the border in his SUV.
Eduardo Sais Peinado was arrested on Feb. 10 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry after authorities found 11 packages of the drug hidden in the door panels of his Jeep Liberty, according to court records.
Sais was fired from his judicial post that same day, a Mexican official said.
In a sentencing memorandum, Sais’ attorney Emily Bahr said financial problems prompted her client to commit the crime. The document describes how an established civil attorney and judge ended up behind bars.
Around the same time, he began a romantic relationship with a woman who has three children, one of whom suffers from developmental disabilities. Sais began helping pay for the 6-year-old girl’s medical expenses.
Sais began to fall behind on his financial obligations, depleted his savings and found it difficult to get a loan.
One day he was at Pueblo Amigo Caliente Casino in Tijuana when a man named “Vale” approached him. The man, who he’d seen around before, had heard of Sais’ money troubles and wanted to hire him for work: smuggle drugs across the border for $3,500 USD.
He had a border crossing card, and on his first actual smuggling run he drove the car to a shopping center in Chula Vista, left the Jeep with a stranger for an hour, then returned to Tijuana. About a week later he was contacted for another trip. But this time, he got caught on the border.
TBP Newsroom with information from the San Diego Union Tribune