A 36-year-old man allegedly caught transporting 40 pounds of cocaine and heroin into Riverside County was charged Wednesday with multiple drug-related felonies.
Raymond Steven Gonzalez was arrested Sunday morning after he was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Temecula.
Gonzalez was charged with two counts each of possession of controlled substances for sale and illegal transportation of narcotics, as well as sentence-enhancing allegations of having more than 25 pounds of illegal drugs.
The defendant pleaded not guilty during an arraignment before Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon, who scheduled a felony settlement conference for April 25 at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta. Gonzalez is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the nearby Byrd Detention Center.
According to the U.S. Border Patrol, about 11:15 a.m. Sunday, two agents traveling northbound on Interstate 15 through Temecula spotted Gonzalez’s 2003 Ford Expedition swerving in and out of lanes erratically and began tailing him.
Agency spokeswoman Mary Caston said that as the defendant transitioned from Temecula Parkway onto state Route 79, the agents initiated a traffic stop, and Gonzalez pulled the SUV onto the shoulder of the roadway.
A K-9 was deployed to check the Ford and immediately signaled his handler that drugs were present, Caston said.
She said 14 bundles of cocaine and two bundles of black tar heroin, altogether weighing within a fraction of 40 pounds, were seized from behind a driver’s side quarter panel inside the SUV.
The estimated street value of the haul was $400,700, according to the Border Patrol.
Gonzalez was taken into custody without a struggle.
He has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
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