LOS LUNAS – What began as a traffic stop last week near Los Lunas ended in a seizure of nearly $750,000 worth of packaged cocaine.
Valencia County sheriff’s deputies arrested and charged 25-year-old Marc Valdez, of Albuquerque, with one count of distribution of a controlled substance and one count of careless driving.
Valencia County Sheriff’s deputies George Diesel and David Hill initiated a traffic stop on Interstate 25 last Wednesday after they noticed a blue-colored GMC pickup truck driving northbound and the driver carelessly veering from the left to the right lane in front of a semi-tractor truck.
When they stopped Valdez, he told them he was in Los Lunas visiting his father. As the conversation continued, the deputies noticed the man seemed to appear “extremely nervous” and his hands were shaking.
According to the complaint, Valdez’s responses to the deputies’ questions seemed delayed, and he didn’t make eye contact with the them.
During the encounter, the deputies noticed an open bag in the rear passenger area that contained rectangular packages wrapped in black electrical tape.
Valdez was asked to get out of his truck and told that a K-9 officer was on the way. Valdez volunteered information to the deputies that there were a “couple of pounds” of marijuana in the bag, the complaint read.
When the K-9 officer from the Albuquerque Police Department arrived, Valdez gave his consent for the officers to search his vehicle. During the search, the K-9 officer said his dog was alerted on the passenger side of the truck. When the deputy looked more closely at the bag, he saw the packages.
The deputies discontinued the search, placed Valdez into custody and towed the vehicle to the sheriff’s department.
After obtaining a warrant, deputies discovered about 17 pounds of suspected cocaine, along with $4,000 in cash that was found hidden inside a CD case.
Valencia County Sheriff Louis Burkhard said the estimated street value of the cocaine is about $750,000.
Valdez was transported to the Valencia County Detention Center, where he’s being held on a $75,000 cash-only bond.