COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL (News 4 JAX) – Roughly $120,000 worth of meth and heroin was seized during a traffic stop Tuesday in Columbia County, authorities said.
Troopers said Edwin Ismael Martinez, 23, and Alejandro Angeles-Morales, 25, both of North Carolina, are now facing charges of possession and trafficking in methamphetamine and heroin, drug smuggling, and possession of drug equipment.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, if it had not been for K-9 Rogue, the narcotics would have been delivered somewhere in Florida.
“We’re certainly pleased with the outcome of the traffic stop and what they were able to take away from these individuals and keep it off the street,” FHP spokesman Lt. Patrick Riordan told News4Jax on Wednesday.
The Highway Patrol report shows a blue Honda Civic traveling south on Interstate 75 through Columbia County was pulled over just before 6 p.m. Tuesday for impeding traffic in the left lane.
According to an arrest affidavit, the driver of the Honda, Martinez, and the passenger, Angeles-Morales, were acting nervous, so a drug-sniffing K-9 was called in. The Highway Patrol said K-9 Rogue picked up the scent of narcotics in the car, which gave troopers probable cause to search the vehicle, leading to the discovery of 3 kilograms of crystal meth and ¼ kilogram of heroin inside the trunk.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, meth has an estimated street value of $30,000 per kilogram and a ¼ kilogram of heroin has an estimated street value of $30,000.
“These are some pretty significant and very powerful narcotics,” Riordan said.
They’re so powerful that troopers said they and their drug-sniffing dogs have to be careful, especially now that many illegal narcotics are being laced with the drug fentanyl, which can cause an overdose by touching it.
“We take measures to ensure our troopers’ safety, but it is part of the job and at some point, it will be hands-on with some of these narcotics,” Riordan said.
Martinez and Angeles-Morales were arrested and booked into the Columbia County jail, where they were each being held on $1,705,000 bond as of Wednesday evening, online jail records show.
According to federal authorities, both men could face federal charges in addition to the state charges.