DPS finds 51 pounds of cocaine in traffic stop

Department of Public Safety troopers found more than 51 pounds of cocaine Friday in a false compartment of an SUV that was stopped for traffic violations.

An Alton woman was arrested Friday after about 51 pounds of cocaine was found in her sport utility vehicle.

A Department of Public Safety trooper stopped a tan Kia Sorento SUV traveling north on U.S. Highway 59 just north of U.S. Highway 87 on suspicion of two traffic violations about 9:45 a.m. Friday, said Trooper Gerald Bryant.

During the stop, the trooper observed several signs of criminal activity and received permission to search the vehicle, Bryant said.

The trooper found 20 bundles containing 51.2 pounds of cocaine in a false compartment in the floor of the vehicle. Officials estimate the street value at $1,493,091.

The driver, Hilda Villanueva, 41, was arrested on a charge of felony possession of a controlled substance. She was in custody at the Victoria County Jail on Friday.