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Two busted for $712K in meth

journalstar.com, March 3, 2014

A Lancaster County Sheriff's deputy recovered more than $712,000 worth of methamphetamine during a traffic stop near Lincoln Sunday night.

He arrested 55-year-old Alfonso Lopez Garcia, of Modesto, Calif., and 41-year-old Fredy Alcaraz-Mendoza, of Shawnee, Kan., after he found 15 one-pound packages of meth in a hidden compartment in the dash of a 2001 Lincoln Continental Town Car, Sheriff Terry Wagner said Monday....

Deputy Jason Mayo stopped the car just after Alcaraz-Mendoza pulled off of Interstate 80 onto southbound U.S. 77 about 6:40 p.m. Sunday, Wagner said.

Mayo gave him a warning for a traffic violation and then asked Garcia, the car's owner, for permission to search.

Garcia consented, and a search dog alerted the deputy to drug odor.

Mayo also found $1,400 during the search.

Garcia and Alcaraz-Mendoza were jailed on suspicion of possession of more than 140 grams of meth with intent to deliver.

Last year, Nebraska State Patrol troopers seized more than 90 pounds of meth in 224 criminal and traffic interdictions, according to patrol data. In the same time period, troopers seized more than 3,700 pounds of marijuana.

In December 2012, Mayo hauled in 23 pounds of pot and nearly 6 pounds of meth worth about $365,000, according to newspaper records.

"Meth traffic has sort of been overshadowed by the marijuana traffic coming out of California or Washington state (and) Colorado," Wagner said Monday morning.

He said he doesn't think the amount of meth coming out of Mexico or California that gets hauled across Nebraska has dipped.

Rather, the sheriff said, media attention has shifted to marijuana moving across the state in the wake of Colorado's legalization of the drug for recreational use.

"That's just garnered more attention."