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Drugs worth $4.8 million discovered during traffic stop

Media outlets in Texas have reported that officers from the Austin Police Department discovered 50 pounds of methamphetamine, six pounds of heroin and 82 pounds of cocaine during a routine traffic stop in Travis County on the afternoon of July 10. The drugs are said to have a street value of about $4.8 million. A 43-year-old Weslaco man was taken into custody in connection with the narcotics haul. The man has been charged with three first-degree felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance and faces decades in prison if convicted. Reports indicate that he was transported to the Travis County Jail for processing and his bail has been set at $300,000.

According to a police report, the man's pickup truck was traveling northbound on Interstate 35 in the vicinity of the Onion Creek Parkway when an APD officer pulled it over after noticing that it did not have a front license plate. The officer says that he became suspicious when the man behind the wheel produced an expired Tennessee driver's license and made contradictory statements about his travel plans. The man is then said to have consented to a search of his vehicle.

Reports indicate that a K9 unit was then called in. Officers say that the dog alerted near the vehicle's tires, and a closer inspection is said to have revealed tool marks on the lug nuts of each wheel. The truck was then transported to a law enforcement facility for a more rigorous inspection. Officers say that the drugs were found concealed inside metal cases that had been welded to each of the pickup truck's wheels.

Criminal defense attorneys with experience in cases involving drug charges would likely encourage their clients to avail themselves of their Fourth Amendment rights and refuse to allow police officers to conduct warrantless searches of their persons, vehicles or residences. Attorneys could also seek to have drug charges reduced or dismissed when law enforcement has unreasonably extended traffic stops to allow drug sniffing dogs to be called to the scene.

Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Texas police allegedly find $4.8 million worth of drugs hidden inside man's tires", Fernando Ramirez, July 16, 2018

Source: The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "He packed 138 pounds of meth, cocaine and heroin into his truck's wheels, Texas cops say", Matthew Martinez, July 14, 2018

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