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DPS seizes 16 kilos of cocaine

By KBell
Aug. 5, 2010 at 3:05 a.m.

Trooper Wayne Cipriani, center, stopped a 41-year-old McAllen woman who had hidden 16 kilograms of cocaine in false compartments of a 2004 Ford F-150. Troopers Louie Verdeja, left, and Thomas Arriaga, right, assisted with the seizure Thursday at 2:15 p.m.

The Texas Department of Public Safety seized about 16 kilograms of cocaine during a traffic stop around 2:15 p.m Thursday.

Sgt. Cory Ledbetter said the 35 pounds of cocaine carried close to a $320,000 street value.

A 41-year-old McAllen woman was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, a first degree felony for the amount of drugs involved, Ledbetter said.

She was taken to the Victoria County Sheriff's Office.

The woman's 16-year-old son was also in the vehicle. Ledbetter said he remained in DPS custody until a friend could come to pick him up.

"Unless we know for sure he's involved, we will release him," Ledbetter said of the son.

The woman was driving a 2004 Ford F-150 northbound on U.S. Highway 59 just north of Telferner when she was pulled over by Trooper Wayne Cipriani for failure to yield to the right of way.

Trooper Thomas Arriaga said he was called to the scene after Cipriani noticed the driver behaving suspiciously.

Cipriani and Arriaga said they noticed discrepancies in the vehicle that led them to ask for consent to search.

After the woman consented, the troopers located a white powdery substance, which tested positive for cocaine, in a false compartment.

Troopers took the truck off the main highway to "break it down," a process that took Cipriani and three other troopers about four hours, he said.

Troopers attempted to interview the woman, who declined to talk and requested an attorney.

Cipriani said she was headed to Ocean Springs, Miss.

"U.S. (Highway) 77 and 59 are large criminal corridors," Ledbetter said. "These guys are out there, looking for this kind of thing all the time."

Arriaga estimated this was about the 20th seizure by the DPS in Victoria this year.



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