CIBOLA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A routine traffic stop on I-40 is giving News 13 a look at one of the ways drugs are flooding into our state. Last month, a driver, identified as Manuel Pinon-Duran, pulled over for a New Mexico State Police officer in Cibola County before there were any lights or sirens.
Pinon-Duran told the officer he was headed to Albuquerque. The officer learned Pinon-Durgan is from Mexico and doesn’t have a driver’s license. After issuing Pinon-Duran a citation, the officers brought out a K9 to help them search the car expecting to find drugs. Officers first tried to pry the spare tire off the wheel and then went to work slicing it off the wheel but didn’t find any drugs.
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It turns out, what they were looking for was sitting in plain sight in the back seat. Investigators said a duffel bag was filled with more than eight pounds of meth which turned the traffic citation into a federal drug trafficking charge.
According to the officer’s report, he originally pulled over Pinon-Duran for following another car too closely. Pinon-Duran has been convicted three times for entering the country illegally.