|Three stops net more than 60 lbs. of marijuana, 5 kilos of coke|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Jan. 11, 2007 - City and county drug interdiction officers' late-night patrols onInterstate 30 Wednesday proved quite fruitful.
Three traffic stops within 3 hours in a 20-mile stretch resulted in three felony arrests and the seizure of 63 pounds of marijuana, 5 kilograms of cocaine and 30 grams of crack.
Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Buddy Williams and Sgt. Jason Ricketson made the first two stops and subsequent arrests almost simultaneously. Hopkins County Sheriff's Cpl. Eddie Moon followed suit less than two hours later with another stop and arrest.
Sgt. Ricketson stopped a white Volkswagen Jetta with Kentucky license plates at 11:53 p.m. at the 114 mile marker for a traffic violation. Three minutes later and five miles to the east, Lt. Williams stopped a red Pontiac Grand Prix with a Georgia license plate for a traffic violation.
Ricketson identified the driver and lone occupant of the Jetta as Eduardo “Lalo” Flores, 20, of Lexington, Ky. The car belonged to someone else, and his "not too believable" account of his travel itinerary lead Ricketson to request permission to search the car. Inside the trunk, Ricketson found a bag with several bundles of marijuana, Lt. Williams said Thursday morning.
Flores was taken into custody and the substance seized. The marijuana weighed 60 pounds, resulting in Flores being chargesd with possession of more than 50 pounds but less than 2,000 pounds of marijuana.
Flores was arraigned Wednesday morning at the county jail, where he remained in lieu of $75,000 bond on the second-degree felony.
Lt. Williams arrested the driver of the red Grand Prix, 41-year-old Curtis Leo Williams of Nashville, Tenn., after finding marijuana and crack cocaine.
"As I walked up to the car, I could smell pot," Lt. Williams said. "He was deceptive about his travel plan and past criminal history, so I asked for consent to search the car."
When the Nashville man refused to allow a search, Lt. Williams retrieve his canine partner, Atos, and had the dog conduct a "sniff search" around the vehicle. The dog alerted on the car, giving the officer probable cause to search the Pontiac. He found 3 pounds of marijuana and 30 grams of crack cocaine in the rear floorboard of the car.
Curtis Leo Williams was arraigned Thursday morning at the county jail, where he remained at noon in lieu of $5,000 bond on the third-degree felony possession of marijuana charge and the possession of a controlled substance charge.
The third large bust of the night was made by HCSO Cpl. Eddie Moon, who stopped a green Dodge Stratus at the 133 mile marker on I-30 east at 1:58 a.m. for a traffic violation.
The driver was identified as 49-year-old Gilberto Demetrio Cardenas of Brownsville, who during the course of the stop agreed to let Moon search the car he was driving. An initial search turned up four bundles of what was suspected to be cocaine. A field test of one bar indicated it was cocaine. He was taken to jail. A second detailed search of the car turned up another package under the dash. The bar was packaged the same way and had the same markings as the others. Cardenas was booked for possession of a controlled substance, and the vehicle was impounded.
Cardenas was also arraigned at and remained in Hopkins County jail at noon Thursday. Bond on the possession of five kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine charge was set at $200,000.
SSPD Lt. Buddy Williams praised Moon for his continued interdiction efforts on the interstate, which often are carried out with assistance from his canine partner, Jack.
"Eddie is a hard worker and dedicated officer who is really doing well with his interdiction efforts. I feel with support and backing from within his agency, he will continue to do a great job and be an asset to the community. I foresee more good things from him to come," Williams said.