California troopers seize $10.5M worth of drugs during traffic stop

MERCED COUNTY, Calif. — State troopers in California seized approximately $10.5 million worth of drugs during a traffic stop that yielded fentanyl-laced pills, methamphetamine and cocaine, authorities said.

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According to a Facebook post by the California Highway Patrol, a K-9 officer pulled over a 2014 Kia Soul for a traffic violation on Interstate 5 in Merced County at about 1 p.m. PDT on Friday.

During the stop, the trooper noted “several factors that led him to believe the driver and passenger were engaged in criminal activity” and called in his K-9 partner, Luna.

The dog gave a positive alert on the smell of narcotics, KFSN-TV reported. As officers prepared to search the vehicle, the driver ran into a nearby orchard.

Despite an extensive search, the driver was not immediately located, but he was identified by evidence in the car, according to the Merced Sun-Star.

However, troopers detained the vehicle’s passenger, identified as Ponce Rosales, state troopers wrote on Facebook.

Troopers said they found 735,000 fentanyl-laced pills that weighed approximately 161 pounds, along with 133 pounds of methamphetamine, and 37 pounds of cocaine.

Posales, 23, of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, was booked into the Los Banos City Jail on charges that included possession of methamphetamine for sale, transportation of methamphetamine across noncontiguous counties, possession of cocaine/fentanyl for sale, and transportation of cocaine/fentanyl across noncontiguous counties.

According to online jail records, Rosales’ bond was set at $16.2 million, the Sun-Star reported.

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