Drug busts net 27 pounds of meth, 4 arrests

A traffic stop on Interstate 70 yielded 24 pounds of suspected methamphetamine hidden in the trunk of this Infiniti.

Manuel Cruz-Jaime

Guadencia Cruz-Jaime

A mother and son and two brothers were arrested in a span of less than 24 hours in separate traffic stops at the same spot on Interstate 70 after authorities found a combined 27 pounds of suspected methamphetamine in their vehicles.

Manuel Cruz-Jaime, 44, and Guadencia Cruz-Jaime, 36, both of Las Vegas, Nev., were booked into the Mesa County Jail early Thursday morning on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and being a special drug offender.

Western Colorado Drug Task Force officers stopped the men in a vehicle eastbound on I-70 at mile marker 15 around 4:30 a.m. after noticing the vehicle’s license plate light wasn’t working, according to an arrest affidavit.

Both men told officers they were from Las Vegas and heading to Denver to look for work. After telling the driver, Manuel Cruz-Jaime, they weren’t going to ticket him for the broken light, the officers asked both men if they could search the vehicle. Both men consented, the affidavit said.

Officers noticed the arm rest in the back seat was down and could see a trap door to a hidden compartment at the base of the arm rest leading into the trunk. The trunk had been built up about 4 inches above the original trunk floor. Officers removed a bolt from the trap door and saw several vacuum-packed packages in the trunk, the affidavit said.

Officers removed 17 packages of meth weighing 24 pounds. Jim Schrant, resident agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Grand Junction, said the retail street value of 24 pounds of meth is approximately $1 million.

About 16 hours earlier, 36-year-old Teresa Meza and her 18-year-old son, Luis Ramon, both of Colorado Springs, were arrested after Colorado State Patrol troopers stopped their truck eastbound on I-70 at mile marker 15 for having improper license plates.

The mother and son told troopers they had been in California visiting a sick relative. But they gave different descriptions of the illness and of how long they had been visiting, according to an arrest affidavit.

After warning Teresa Meza about the license plate, troopers asked if they could search her truck, and she consented, the affidavit said.

A drug dog alerted troopers to the odor of drugs, and the troopers found a false compartment in the bed of the truck and three pounds of meth packaged inside the compartment, the affidavit said.

Schrant said there was no connection between the two busts from an investigative standpoint.

Sentinel reporter Paul Shockley contributed to this report.


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