CHP officers find 80 pounds of cocaine in car, arrest E.C. man

January 28, 2001|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Staff Writer

WESTMORLAND — An El Centro man was arrested north of here Friday morning after more than 80 pounds of cocaine was found in his vehicle by a California Highway Patrol drug-sniffing dog.

Benjamin Velazquez, 47, of El Centro was arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine for sales and transportation for sales. He was stopped by the California Highway Patrol around 10 a.m. Friday.

Velazquez remained in the county jail Saturday with bail set at $1 million.

According to the Highway Patrol, Velazquez was pulled over by a Highway Patrol officer for a minor traffic violation on Highway 86 north of Westmorland.

The officer, whose name was not available Saturday, noticed "several indicators of narcotic trafficking," the Highway Patrol stated.

"The officer requested assistance from the CHP (canine) officer," a press release stated. "The CHP (canine) alerted to the vehicle and 80.8 pounds of cocaine was discovered."


Information wasn't available Saturday on what indicators led the arresting officer to suspect drug trafficking.

Velazquez was turned over to Imperial County Narcotic Task Force agents for further questioning. Information on whether the county NTF will take over the investigation of the case was not available Saturday.

Staff Writer Richard Montenegro can be reached at 337-3453.

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