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Another Tow Truck Stopped Transporting Narcotics


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I-80 traffic stops net $594,000 of crystal meth in Seward County

 

Three men were arrested on Wednesday after the Seward County Sheriff's Office seized 37 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, authorities said in a news release.

 

While patrolling Interstate 80, Sheriff Mike Vance pulled over a flatbed truck that was hauling a Cadillac Escalade around 12:45 p.m.

 

During the traffic stop, Vance noted inconsistencies in what those in the vehicle were saying, according to the news release. At some point, a passenger in the tow truck told Vance that the owners of the Escalade were traveling in another vehicle on I-80.

 

Deputies in the area stopped the vehicle matching the description, and a K-9 at the scene detected the odor of illegal narcotics coming from the Escalade, authorities said.

 

A search turned up 21 packages of crystal meth weighing 27 pounds and with a street value of $594,000 hidden in the sidewall of the vehicle, the news release said.

 

An investigation determined that the narcotics were being transported from Juarez, Mexico, to Omaha.

 

The men -- Christian Gardea, 24, of El Paso, Texas; and Perdo Robles, 33, and Rex Kmiecik, 39, both of Omaha -- were arrested for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of crystal methamphetamine.

It's unclear who was in what vehicle.

 

According to the news release, the tow truck driver, two children under the age of 5 and a woman were released.

 

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For years, our company was the evidence provider for CHP San Diego. There were several incidents like this where a tow truck company was called to pick-up an unattended vehicle somewhere near the border and take it north.

 

This news report is a reminder to those tow companies operating near border towns about accepting tow requests to tow or transport vehicles. When owners aren't with a vehicle being towed or transported, but give you an address and name of, "someone", that should be the first red-flag that something is fishy. Here in Southern California, vehicles crossing from Mexico into the US are prime targets for smuggled drugs or international travelers.

 

One way that drugs get into the US from Mexico is the simple process of the bad-guys tying packets of something under a pickup truck's frame while the vehicle is parked and unattended. The bad-guys wait for the unassuming pick-up owner to drive to the border crossing with bad-guys following close behind. If the pick-up makes it across, the bad-guys follow and wait until the truck is parked and the owner walks away. It's risky for the pickup owner, but the bad-guys oftentimes win. If someone calls to have a vehicle taken from the border entry to Los Angeles, it requires plenty of diligence by the tow company in-knowing who owns the vehicle and whether or not the owner will be with the vehicle. While you don't want to turn-down a long-distance call, if the information doesn't come easy or you have that, "somethin' ain't right", feeling ... turn the call down. The closer to the border a vehicle is, there's high possibility that a tow truck could be stopped and searched. 

 

Even when the tow operator isn't involved or has knowledge of the drugs in a vehicle, an arrest will happen none-the-less and the tow truck or carrier is impounded. It then takes a ton of money and effort to post out of jail, fight the federal allegations and then get the truck out of impound. This is one of those topics for your next dispatch meeting. The other side of a driver who may be guilty of possession and transporting drugs, stolen property, or other unlawful activities, my advice is simple to suggest; don't do the crime if ya' can't do the time. Be careful.     R.

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Randall C. Resch

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