Man accused of hauling 15 pounds of meth in car

A California man traveling with more than 15 pounds of suspected methamphetamine stuffed in a spare tire well in the trunk of his rental was about to drive away from an encounter with the law with nothing more than a warning for speeding when the deputy who had pulled him over asked one more question.

Phillip Aceves Martinez was stopped in the 1900 block of Interstate 70 Frontage Road at about 4:30 a.m. Friday by a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy who said the car the 28-year-old was driving was going faster than the speed limit and had crossed over the right shoulder line several times, according to Martinez’s arrest affidavit.

Martinez told Deputy Mike Miller he was en route to Kentucky to visit family. He said he was trying to find his way to the interstate and handed over a car rental agreement bearing the name “John Newton,” who Martinez said was “my friend, I guess.”

Miller asked Martinez to step out of the gray Hyundai while he checked for any warrants and his driving status.

“Once I was done, I returned the documents to Martinez and told him I was just giving him a warning for speeding and that he was good to go,” Miller wrote in the affidavit. “Martinez thanked me and started walking back to his car.”

While Martinez walked away, Miller stopped him again.

“I asked Martinez if he was carrying any illegal drugs, weapons or large amounts of money,” Miller wrote in the report. “He said no.”

Martinez agreed to allow Miller to search the car. Miller noticed the spare tire was in the trunk rather than in the well. When he looked in the well, he found 14 packages of “a crystalline substance consistent with methamphetamine,” or about 15 1/2 pounds, Miller wrote in the report.

Martinez, who is being held at the Mesa County Jail in lieu of a $50,000 cash-only bond, faces charges of drug possession with intent to distribute and drug importation, both high-level felonies.

He could also be charged with a misdemeanor count of speeding.


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