Jackson deputies seize 19 kilos of cocaine in traffic stop

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

March 7, 2012 at 7:04 p.m.
Updated March 7, 2012 at 9:08 p.m.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office arrested an Edinburg woman at 11:20 p.m. Saturday after 19 kilos of cocaine and $36,000 in cash were found in her car.

Deputies Jason McCarrell and B.J. Novak stopped Leticia Villarreal, 44, who was driving a green BMW X5 on U.S. Highway 59 near Farm-to-Market 234, after she drove down a dead-end road near the highway.

Jackson County Sheriff Andy Louderback said the deputies thought the vehicle was lost and initiated a traffic stop.

"The driver displayed criminal indicators, and a consent to search was granted," Louderback said.

While searching the vehicle, deputies observed a hidden compartment near the front of the driver and passenger side rocker panels, where car body putty was used and painted over to match the color of the car.

The cocaine and cash were found in the concealed compartment.

Villarreal, who was alone in the car, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance greater than 400 grams, and money laundering, greater than $20,000, both felonies, Louderback said.

Villarreal remains in the Jackson County Jail. Her bond was set at $350,000.

The seized drugs and money will be used as evidence, the sheriff said.



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