Crime

Police: Driver found with 138 lbs. of cocaine, meth and heroin on I-35

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Around 138 pounds of cocaine, meth and heroin were found hidden in the wheels of a pickup truck during a traffic stop in south Austin this week.

An Austin police officer noticed a red Ford pickup truck without its required front license plate around 1:06 p.m. Tuesday going northbound in the 12600 block of South Interstate 35 near Onion Creek Parkway. 

The officer pulled over the driver, 43-year-old Armando Martinez, who had an expired Tennessee driver's license.

Martinez immediately told the officer that the truck belonged to his mother, who lived in a small town on the Texas border with Mexico, according to a police affidavit.

The officer noted in his report that Martinez appeared nervous and gave an inconsistent story about where he was going. The police officer asked and got Martinez's consent to search the vehicle, noticing that all of the lug nuts on the truck's new wheels showed signs of fresh tool marks — possibly a sign that something was hidden inside.

A K-9 unit was called to the scene and the dog alerted his partner to narcotics in the wheels.

Officers took the vehicle to a secure location where the rims were removed and metal boxes were removed, revealing around 82 pounds of cocaine, 50 pounds of methamphetamine and six pounds of heroin.

Martinez faces three charges of manufacture or deliver a controlled substance of more than 400 grams, with bond set at $300,000. Travis County Jail records show he remains in custody.

While court documents did not estimate the street value of the drugs, Fayette County deputies found 70 pounds of cocaine earlier this year during a traffic stop, with an estimated value of $3 million


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