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Police seize 50 pounds of meth hidden in SUV

A Washington man and woman face felony drug charges after Oregon State Police said a trooper found 50 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside a vehicle the pair were traveling in near Ashland.

Reynalda Larios-Cortes, 57, and Juan Enrique Lemus Del Cid, 28, both of Tacoma, Washington, face charges of delivering and possessing meth and heroin.

In addition to the meth, OSP said it found nearly 5 pounds of heroin hidden inside a white 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander during a traffic stop between Ashland and Talent, according to a news release issued by OSP and documents filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.

After stopping Lemus Del Cid for allegedly speeding at 3:49 p.m. Wednesday on northbound Interstate 5, an OSP trooper spotted carpeting beneath the front seats that he said looked suspicious, according to court documents filed by OSP.

“I noticed when I was waiting for the registration and proof of insurance that I could see brand new bolts on the driver’s side front seat,” the trooper wrote. “I could also see brand new carpet material on the floorboards of the passenger side.”

Neither Lemus Del Cid nor Larios-Cortes knew who owned the crossover SUV, which was registered to a woman out of Modesto, California, according to OSP. The vehicle’s insurance, however, authorized Larios-Cortes as the vehicle’s only insured driver.

OSP said a K-9 pointed police to hidden compartments throughout the vehicle.

“I searched the front passenger side seat location and located a false floor built into the entire SUV,” according to the trooper.

Beneath both front seats was carpeting that had been glued down, with foam padding typically used for home carpeting covering a locked compartment, according to the trooper.

“I pried the two seats open, which were held in place by trunk latches,” the trooper wrote.

Inside the compartments, police found 50.8 pounds of crystal meth and 4.8 pounds of black tar heroin.

Lt. Bob Charpentier, who oversees OSP’s drug enforcement section, described the amount as “a lot of methamphetamine,” but no record-setter.

“Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common,” Charpentier said.

Charpentier said troopers are trained to spot hidden compartments in vehicles. One recent case included a half a gas tank that was welded shut, and one saw a compartment within a dashboard center console.

“It’s pretty elaborate, what you see,” Charpentier said.

Lemus Del Cid made his initial court appearance on the drug charges Thursday and was released from the Jackson County Jail Friday afternoon. Court records show he was granted permission Friday to return to his home in Tacoma.

Larios-Cortes made her initial court appearance Friday, owing to the need for an interpreter, records showed. She remained held in jail Friday on $500,000 bail.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Reynalda Larios-Cortes, left, and Juan Enrique Lemus Del Cid, both of Tacoma, Wash. are charged with delivering and possessing more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine. Jackson County Jail photos.
Oregon State Police found more than 50 pounds of meth during a traffic stop between Ashland and Talent. OSP photo