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65 pounds of cocaine seized near Ashland

Oregon State Police say they seized 65 pounds of cocaine in a Wednesday morning traffic stop between Ashland and Talent. OSP photo.

A Southern California man faces felony drug charges after he was allegedly found in possession of large quantities of cocaine during a traffic stop between Ashland and Talent.

Gerardo Avila-Soriano, 52, is being held in the Jackson County Jail on $500,000 bail following a Wednesday morning traffic stop in which Oregon State Police say they found more than 65 pounds of suspected cocaine, according to jail records and an OSP release issued Saturday.

At about 9:12 a.m. Wednesday, OSP troopers stopped Avila-Soriano behind the wheel of a 2021 Ford Explorer SUV on a traffic violation of following too close on northbound Interstate 5 near Milepost 16 ― about two miles north of Ashland and one mile south of the Talent exit.

Gerardo Avila-Soriano, 52, is held in the Jackson County Jail on $500,000 bail following a Wednesday morning traffic stop outside Ashland in which Oregon State Police allege he had 65 pounds of cocaine hidden in the 2021 Ford Explorer he was driving. Jackson County Jail booking photo.

During the stop, an OSP Senior Trooper based out of Central Point “noticed signs of criminal activity” and conducted a search that also involved U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations agents based in Medford.

During the search, state police and federal investigators found about 25 packages of cocaine hidden in “natural voids in the vehicle’s rear doors.”

An OSP photo of the packages on a scale shows a weight of 65.4 pounds.

Avila-Soriano was booked in the jail on felony charges of delivering and possessing cocaine Wednesday, and as of Saturday remains an inmate.

OSP states that Avila-Soriano is from South Gate, California, while the booking address in Jackson County Jail records shows a Los Angeles address.

Details about Avila-Soriano’s Jackson County Circuit Court case was not immediately available because the state court records database was down for maintenance Saturday.

A search of the name “Gerardo Avila-Soriano” in U.S. District Court records yielded no results.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.