Phelps County: 3 arrested after $1.6 million worth of cocaine found during traffic stop -

Phelps County: 3 arrested after $1.6 million worth of cocaine found during traffic stop



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At about 6:30 PM, Sunday, February 28, 2010 the Phelps County Sheriff's Department was conducting a Selective Enforcement Grant Operation on Interstate 44. At the end of the operation a Peterbuilt tractor trailer was stopped for a traffic violation.

During the course of the traffic stop, Deputies became suspicious because of conflicting information and deployed a K-9 from the Rolla City Police Department trained in the detection of illegal narcotics. When the K-9 alerted on the tractor portion of the vehicle a search was conducted and large amount of suspected cocaine was located in various locations. The Driver and two (2) occupants were arrested and Agents from the Lambert Drug Task Force of the Drug Enforcement Administration were notified.

The driver was identified as Raul Perez Rodas, 45, of Desert Hot Springs, California. The two passengers were identified as Rafael Herminio Molina-Vazquez, 30, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Alayssa Melo, 22, of New York City. All three were turned over to the DEA Agents.

The suspected cocaine was processed and found to weigh approximately 130 pounds. This amount of cocaine has a street value of $1.6 million.

The charges for which these three individuals have been arrested and charged with are merely accusations and are not evidence of guilt. Evidence in support of the charges must be presented before a court of competent jurisdiction whose duty is to determine their guilt or innocence.

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