Tijuana judge charged with drug smuggling after 38 pounds of cocaine found in his Jeep

A Tijuana municipal judge has been charged with drug smuggling after 38 pounds of cocaine were found hidden in his Jeep Liberty while crossing the border, according to a complaint filed in San Diego Federal Court.

Eduardo Francisco Sais Peinado was arrested Feb. 10 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, according to the complaint and jail records.

A Tijuana city official said Sais was fired from his judicial post the same day for a work-related matter but declined to elaborate, including whether the arrest had anything to do with his dismissal.

Sais was alone in his Jeep when crossing about 6:20 p.m. A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer conducting inspections approached him as he waited in the pre-primary lanes. Sais presented his border crossing card and said he was headed to Chula Vista, according to the complaint. He said that he had nothing to declare and that the only people who use the Jeep are him and his girlfriend, the complaint states.


The officers used a device that tests the density of vehicle parts and got a high reading on the door panels, the complaint says. Sais again said he had nothing to declare.

Officers became more suspicious when a drug-sniffing dog alerted, and an X-ray found anomalies in the vehicle’s passenger doors, the complaint says.

An officer eventually found 11 packages of cocaine hidden in the front and rear passenger doors, as well as five packages in the rear door.

Sais has pleaded not guilty and has agreed to remain in federal custody without bail.

He had worked as a municipal judge in Tijuana since the previous administration, the official said. Municipal judges oversee cases involving violations of city law, including traffic infractions.

Davis and Dibble write for the San Diego Union-Tribune.