Cuban man cops to two drug felonies after deputies found 5 pounds of methamphetamine in his parked car
EAGLE — A Cuban man pleaded guilty to a pair of drug felonies after he was arrested with more than 5 pounds of methamphetamine in his car.
Jorge Alcolea-Argote admitted Wednesday morning that he was guilty to possession of a controlled substance — in this case the 5 pounds of meth — and conspiracy to distribute it.
District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman will sentence him at 10:30 a.m., Feb. 6.
A co-defendant, Enrique Echevarria-Castro, pleaded not guilty. His three-day trial is scheduled to begin May 20. Echevarria-Castro is free on $50,000 bond.
Police Say What Happened
Alcolea-Argote was at the wheel of a silver sedan, parked at 1 a.m. on Sept. 29, 2018, in the right turn lane of U.S. Highway 6 in Edwards.
Eagle County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Waltz spotted the silver 2015 Nissan Altima with Florida plates, its engine running and the lights on. Waltz rolled on down the highway about a mile, turned around and came back to see if there was anyone inside the car, and whether they where having car trouble.
When Waltz arrived at the car, Alcolea-Argote produced a registration, the Florida license plates for which was not on the vehicle but was later found in the trunk. The proof of insurance was expired, according to Alcolea-Argote’s arrest affidavit.
The inside of the car was in “disarray,” with food bags and luggage strewn about, Waltz said.
Alcolea-Argote and Echevarria-Castro told Waltz they were on their way from Utah where they had picked up Echevarria-Castro to take him to Kentucky where he had work, and where his wife and children live, Waltz said.
Waltz soon was joined by Deputy Josiah Maner at the scene, who got permission from Alcolea-Argote to search the car.
Maner found a silver and black backpack containing five wrapped bundles, which he testified is consistent with drug trafficking.
In that same backpack, the deputies also found several gift cards from various retailers — a common method of paying drug traffickers, which keeps them from carrying large amounts of cash, Maner said during Echevarria-Castro’s preliminary hearing.
“It’s typical for narcotics traffickers to put money on gift cards or debit cards so they’re not carrying large amounts of currency,” Maner testified.
Detectives said the car had been traveling from Salt Lake City, which they said is a central point for heroin and methamphetamine trafficking.
Detectives said they field tested the substance in the bundles, and identified it as methamphetamine.
The five bundles weighed a total of 5 pounds 7 ounces, or 2,268 grams, detectives said. It’s worth about $15,000, detectives said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.