By Debby Schamber
The Orange Leader
A record amount of cocaine was seized this weekend by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, following a routine traffic stop on Interstate 10.
Two Houston men remained in the Orange County Jail Monday on $1 million bonds. The pair were arrested over the weekend after officers discovered more than 80 pounds of cocaine hidden inside their vehicle.
“The street value (of the drugs) is about $1.8 million” said OCSO Lt. Rob Strause of the largest drug bust in Orange County’s history. The second largest bust involved 60 pounds of cocaine.
The two arrested were later identified as McCharles Dillon, 58, and 44-year-old Nathaniel Dillon.
About 8:20 p.m. Friday, Strause and OCSO Sgt. Tom Ray were working patrol in the eastbound lane of I-10 near Vidor. The officers said they noticed a black 1999 Ford F-150 traveling 8 mph over the posted speed limit and failing to signal a lane change.
Strause said he activated his emergency lights and pulled the vehicle over just east of the FM 1442 overpass.
Strause said he asked the driver to step out of his vehicle to talk with him. The officer noted the man was very nervous while speaking to him about the reason for his trip. Strause said he then went to the passenger for questioning and said the passenger also appeared to be very nervous.
According to Strause, the passenger gave a conflicting story about the nature of the men’s trip. The passenger also appeared to be fishing for things to do with his hands while talking to the officers, Strause said.
The driver of the vehicle gave consent for Strause to search the vehicle, according to the OCSO. Officer Lane Mooney of the Vidor Police Department assisted in the search along with his drug detection dog, Rico.
Ray said he noticed a piece of metal that appeared to have been placed under the right rear quarter panel, giving him the impression that the vehicle had a false compartment. Upon closer inspection, officers located a wiring harness that was not part of the original wiring of the pickup truck.
The vehicle was taken into custody and relocated to the sheriff’s office, where the drug dog alerted officers attention to an area near the rear tail lights. Officers said they uncovered two electronic compartments concealed behind the tail lights. Inside the compartments were more than 80 pounds of a white powdery substance, which tested positive as cocaine, Strause said.
“It was wrapped in mustard and aluminum foil to keep the drug dogs from smelling it,” Strause said.
The driver and passenger were arrested at the sheriff’s office and charged with possession of a controlled substance. If convicted of the first degree felony charges, the men could receive 5 to 99 years in prison. The pair could also face possible federal charges because of the large amount of drugs in their possession during the time of their arrest.
Reach this reporter at 409-883-3571, Ext. 2613, or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Debby Schamber
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