ORANGE COUNTY, CA (The Orange County Register) – A sheriff’s deputy arrested a Mexican police officer this week who had 50 pounds of methamphetamine in a hidden compartment inside his car, authorities said on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
The 41-year-old cop was driving on the northbound 5 Freeway when, at the Orange County border with San Diego County, a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Highway Interdiction Team pulled the man over for a Vehicle Code violation, authorities said.
The team primarily monitors the I-5, used by drug-trafficking organizations to smuggle narcotics north.
During the traffic stop, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said, driver Miguel Patron was extremely nervous. Braun did not have details about what the initial traffic stop was for. The man said he was a police officer and gave the deputy his identification. “For someone being pulled over for a Vehicle Code violation, his behavior and demeanor didn’t fit,” Braun said.
Patron let the deputy search his vehicle, and a narcotics-detection dog alerted the deputy to the odor of drugs. The deputy did a detailed search and found a manufactured, hidden compartment in the car concealing the narcotics, authorities said.
Deputies arrested Patron, an officer in Ensenada, for transporting a controlled substance and using a hidden compartment to conceal it. He was taken to the nearest jail, in San Diego County.
According to inmate records, he was booked into the Vista Detention Facility and was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.
The arresting deputy is part of the special team, started in 2008, with three deputies and three K-9s that try to disrupt the flow of drugs into Orange County. The team makes up to 1,500 vehicle stops a year and frequently finds hidden compartments in gas tanks, spare tires and ceilings and other spots concealing narcotics.