US

$1.4 Million of Cocaine at Traffic Stop Tracked Down, Thanks to K-9 Unit

By Eva Fu

A drug task force officer and his K-9 partner, Spyke, sniffed out a significant stash of cocaine in the Houston, Texas, area on May 22.

They seized 64 pounds of cocaine with a street value of $1.4 million during a traffic stop in the Kendleton during a high way interdiction.

It was quite a haul for The Fort Bend County Narcotics Task Force, a multi-agency initiative of the Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas in Texas.

“Our Drug Task Force does an excellent job of tracking down illicit drug traffic on our highways, particularly U.S. 59,” said Sheriff Troy Nehls in a press release.

“We also have to give a lot of credit to the K-9 teams we have out there tracking these perpetrators down.”

drug smuggler suspect Alfredo Martinez
Alfredo Martinez was arrested in Fort Bend County, TX, on May 22. (Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office)

Fifty-year-old Alfredo Martinez of Rio Grande City, Texas, was arrested and booked into the Fort Bend County Jail on May 22. He faces a first-degree felony charge of manufacturing/delivery of a controlled substance and a second-degree felony charge of unlawful use of a criminal instrument.

Smuggled Through the Border

The bust came just days after another major narcotics interception in Texas on May 17.

A significant load of methamphetamine worth $18.5 million was discovered in Rio Grande Valley in a commercial vehicle.

U.S. customs authorities found 384 packages of the drugs, weighing a total of nearly 930 pounds, upon inspecting the trailer pulling a shipment of what appeared to be fresh carrots.

“This is truly a huge, notable interception of hard narcotics accomplished by our frontline officers in the cargo environment,” said Sylvia Briones, port director at the Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.

“Our officers’ mindset and dedication [are] genuinely apparent as evidenced by this outstanding seizure.”

The officers seized the drugs and the trailer, and Homeland Security officials are investigating.

On May 3, border patrol agents and a canine partner seized 118 pounds of liquid methamphetamine worth about $4 million. The officers discovered the smuggled drugs as they conducted immigration inspections on the bus in Sierra Blanca checkpoint. The drugs were found in 90 plastic water bottles inside two suitcases.

A total of around 33,000 pounds of cocaine has been seized at the border so far in 2019, along with over 32,000 pounds of methamphetamine and over 138,000 pounds of marijuana, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

A Deadly Threat

Illicit drugs have become the leading cause of death in the United States since 2011. A daily average of 174 lives were lost to drug poisoning in 2016, according to the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment (pdf). This puts it a higher threat to public security than firearms, car accidents, suicide, and homicide.

Most of the methamphetamine was produced in Mexico and smuggled across the border, and Mexican drug smuggling rings have posed the greatest drug threats to the United States, according to the same report.

In the National Drug Control Strategy released in January, the Trump administration states a goal to reverse the development of drug trafficking, illicit drug misuse, and drug abuse, while focusing on education, prevention, and treatment.

“Reducing the size of the illicit drug-using population through prevention and treatment, together with reducing the availability of drugs in the United States … will set the Nation on the path to being strong, healthy, and drug-free,” the document states.

CNN contributed to this report.