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Man pleads guilty in multi-pound meth stop near Gold Hill

David Contreras Sr.

A Salem man faces prison and likely deportation after admitting to his role in trafficking pounds of methamphetamine seized near Gold Hill.

David Contreras Sr., 50, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to a federal charge of possessing with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine following a 2019 traffic stop on northbound Interstate 5 about a mile south of the Gold Hill.

Contreras was the passenger in a 2012 Jeep Liberty that Oregon State Police stopped for speeding at 6:24 p.m. April 9, according to the plea agreement filed in the case.

Police found 29 packages of meth that weighed a total of 33.8 pounds hidden in the vehicle, according to a news report at the time.

Police also seized $3,000, a Walther 9 mm handgun concealed on Contreras during the stop, at least two fake IDs, plus $6,000 from a backpack inside the vehicle.

Contreras later admitted that his true name is Jorge Castillo-Gomez, and that he is a citizen of Mexico, according to the plea agreement.

Contreras is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 17 in U.S. District Court in Medford. The crime carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The plea agreement states that Contreras being deported after conviction is “practically inevitable and a virtual certainty.”

Contreras remains an inmate in the Jackson County Jail. He has been held there since April 2019.

The driver stopped in the Jeep, Elieser Villa, is currently scheduled to stand trial Dec. 12 in U.S. District Court in Medford on a federal charge of possessing meth with intent to distribute.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.