|Re: Cocaine Trafficking Arrests|
|Tuesday, 22 February 2011 12:36|
Sheriff Paul C. May has released the following information:Reference: Cocaine Trafficking Arrests
On Wednesday, February 16, 2011, members of the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force conducted a traffic stop on a silver 1994 Chevy 2-door vehicle for unsafe/defective equipment about the 17000 Block of Hwy 441 North in Okeechobee County.
Hispanic male, Juan Jesus Landaverde-Aguillon, was the driver of the vehicle. During the traffic stop with Landaverde, an SUV stopped and a Hispanic male, later identified as Jose Bernardo Lopez, exited and advised he was the owner of the vehicle.
Landaverde advised law enforcement he did not have a driver’s license. Landaverde advised he was in the process of applying for his U.S. citizenship. He was extremely nervous. It was confirmed Landaverde did not have a valid driver’s license. A K-9 Officer, who is also a member of the Okeechobee Narcotics Task Force arrived as backup.
While speaking with Lopez and Landaverde separately at the traffic stop, both gave conflicting statements. Both subjects consented to a search of the vehicle when asked by law enforcement.
K-9 was utilized to conduct a free sniff of the exterior of the vehicle prior to any search. K-9 showed a positive alert to the exterior of the vehicle. While searching the vehicle, law enforcement found fresh tool marks on specific parts of the vehicle that led them to believe a secondary crime was taking place.
Due to conflicting statements by both subjects, their nervous behavior and the fresh tool marks observed on specific parts of the vehicle, Lopez and Landaverde agreed to return to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office with law enforcement for further investigation.
The vehicle was taken to a local garage for further inspection, where approximately 5.85 pounds of suspected cocaine was found in a hidden compartment on the vehicle. The suspected cocaine was collected and field tested positive for cocaine. Landaverde and Lopez both were arrested for Trafficking Cocaine Over 400 Grams. Landaverde was also arrested for No valid DL. Both subjects were held without bond at first appearance.
Sheriff Paul C. May said of the arrests, “This is over five (5) pounds of cocaine that will not make it to our streets. Our Narcotics Task Force seems to never sleep. As always, I am very proud of them and I thank them for a job well done.”
Michele Bell, Public Information Officer