Rafael Lopez-Montano, 46 and Pastor A. Leon-Limon, 36, both of Tucson, Ariz. and Sandra Montes-Flores, 28, of Long Beach, Calif. were all arrested early Sunday during a traffic stop on I-70 near Cloverdale. All three were charged Tuesday in Putnam County Circuit Court with Class A felonies dealing in cocaine and conspiracy to commit dealing in cocaine, and Lopez-Montano was also charged with Class D felony identity deception.
The suspects were all booked into the Putnam County Jail, and were transferred into the custody of the DEA on Friday.
A narrative on the case said Putnam County Sheriff's Department Deputy Dwight Simmons was patrolling I-70 eastbound on Sunday when he "observed a white Chevy truck with a slide-in camper traveling ahead of him in the right lane."
The truck made an abrupt lane change, Simmons said, and passed two semi-tractor trailers before making another abrupt lane change into the right lane.
Simmons followed the truck as it exited onto U.S. 231 at the Cloverdale exit, and initiated a traffic stop as the truck pulled into a gas station.
When Simmons asked Lopez-Montano where he was headed, Lopez-Montano responded New York. When Simmons asked where in New York, Lopez-Montano said "Atlantic City."
When Simmons said he thought Atlantic City was in New Jersey, court records said, Lopez-Montano did not respond.
Simmons called for back-up, and a records check revealed that Jaime Bautista was under investigation by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency for narcotics smuggling.
Deputy Ben Pyatt then arrived on the scene with a narcotics detection dog. The K9 aggressively sniffed the truck and camper, eventually sitting as a positive indication of the odor or narcotics, court records said.
Officers then found Montes-Flores and Leon-Limon sleeping inside the camper.
After obtaining the proper search warrants, officers found 21 packages of cocaine inside two propane tanks. Between the three suspects, they were carrying nearly $7,000 in cash, which was seized.
The suspects will now be prosecuted federally, court documents said.