Horse hockey! Meth in manure doesn’t fool K-9

The odor of horse manure may be strong enough to block out other smells, but methamphetamine apparently isn’t one of them.

A 39-year-old man allegedly learned this Tuesday when he was arrested after Western Colorado Drug Task Force officers uncovered two pounds of meth in a horse trailer’s hidden compartment buried under horse manure and sawdust.

Carlos Perez-Romero was booked into the Mesa County Jail on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, failing to drive in a single lane and a sentence-enhancing count of being a special offender after a task force officer conducted a traffic stop near Mack.

The stop came after Perez-Romero’s truck and trailer made a wide turn, crossed over the shoulder line and continued to travel on the shoulder for about 100 feet before entering the lane traffic as it exited eastbound Interstate 70 at Mack around 11 a.m., according to an arrest affidavit.

Perez-Romero, who gave the officer a Mexico driver’s license, appeared nervous. He told the officer he had driven to California a couple of days earlier to sell a horse and was now heading to a ranch in Mack, the affidavit said.

The officer told Perez-Romero he wasn’t going to give him a ticket and that he was free to go, then asked if he was carrying any drugs, weapons or large amounts of cash. Perez-Romero responded no and agreed twice to let police search his truck. “I opened the trailer and saw a thick layer of sawdust and horse manure, most of which did not appear disturbed, suggesting that Carlos hadn’t transported a horse recently as he said he had,” the officer wrote in the affidavit. “There was a small area on the back right corner that did look as if it had been disturbed.”

A drug dog detected the odor of drugs by alerting to the back right corner of the trailer, the front driver’s side door of the truck and underneath the front passenger seat. A search of the trailer turned up two packages of meth weighing two pounds, the affidavit said.

Perez-Romero was being held without bond Wednesday in the Mesa County Jail due to an immigration hold.


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