McLENNAN COUNTY, Texas (FOX 44) – Five people have been arrested on drug charges following traffic stops by McLennan County Sheriff’s deputies.
Canine Deputies with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Organized Crime Unit, conducted these traffic stops on two different vehicles.
Arrest affidavits state that bond for four of these five people were set at $1 million each.
Affidavits mention that at approximately 2:43 p.m. Thursday, a Sheriff’s deputy conducted a traffic stop on a tan-colored Chevrolet sedan for failing to signal a lane change – as well as for doing an unsafe lane change in the 4000 block of Bellmead Drive.
According to the affidavit, the driver of the vehicle was identified as 31-year-old Maria Teresa Avila Ramirez. The front seat passenger was identified as 32-year-old Julie Ann Avila. The driver’s side rear passenger was identified as 22-year-old Laris Alan Penaloza Molina. The passenger’s side rear passenger was identified as 36-year-old Felix Morales Virelas.
All four people are from Dallas, according to the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office.
The affidavit stated that while the deputy was speaking with the four of them, several open containers of alcoholic beverages were seen in the rear seating area of the vehicle. The deputy also smelled a slight odor of marijuana.
According to the affidavit, a probable cause search of the vehicle was conducted – where four open Modelo beer cans were found in the rear seating area. Several smoked marijuana blunts were found in the driver’s door pocket in the ashtray. Approximately 6.8 pounds of a clear, crystalized substance was found in a backpack in the driver’s side rear passenger floorboard. $4,245 in currency was also found. The affidavit states that the crystalized substance was later field tested, and yielded a positive result for methamphetamine.
The affidavit states that Ramirez, Avila, Molina and Virelas were all taken into custody and transported to the McLennan County Jail without incident. The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office says all four people were charged with Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance Over 400 Grams -which is an offense carrying a potential penalty range of 15-99 years.
Another arrest affidavit states that a second traffic stop was initiated by a Sheriff’s deputy at approximately 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Collin Street Bakery, located at 701 Interstate 35 in Bellmead. A white 2011 Chevy Silverado was pulled over for failure to signal a turn as the vehicle pulled into the parking lot – plus the window tint was over the legal limit.
The affidavit states the deputy made contact with the driver, identified as 46-year-old Juan Manuel Medellin-Hernandez. The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office says Medellin-Hernandez is from Garland, Texas.
According to the affidavit, Medellin-Hernandez told the deputy that he left a hotel room and came to the bakery to meet up with a friend – who wound up “being a no-show.”
The affidavit states that when Medellin-Hernandez was talking to the deputy, the deputy noticed Medellin-Hernandez was shaking and stuttering in a nervous manner – and that Medellin-Hernandez was shaking as he was taking a drink of his Coca-Cola.
According to the affidavit, the deputy asked Medellin-Hernandez if there was going to be anything illegal within his vehicle – such as narcotics or weapons. Hernandez said no to weapons, but yes to drugs in the backseat. Medellin-Hernandez was detained and placed in the front seat of the deputy’s patrol unit.
The affidavit states that Medellin-Hernandez’s vehicle was searched, and a gray, plastic tub was discovered. Several clear, plastic Ziploc baggies were discovered inside of this tub. These baggies contained a crystalline substance assumed to be methamphetamine. Hernandez was then placed under arrest at 3:41 p.m.
According to the affidavit, the substance was weighed at 11,761 grams, or about 25.75 pounds. Medellin-Hernandez was transported to the McLennan County Jail.
The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office says Medellin-Hernandez was charged with Manufacture or Delivery of a Controlled Substance Over 400 Grams – which is an offense carrying a potential penalty range of 15-99 years.
The Sheriff’s Office also says that the combined weight of Thursday’s seizures was 14.74 kilograms, which has a conservative estimated street value of around $442,000. The matter of the seizures remains under investigation.
In the past five months, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office Organized Crime Unit has been responsible for the seizure of more than 44 kilograms (nearly 97 pounds) of methamphetamine, with an estimated street value of more than $1.3 million.