A 36-year-old man caught carrying 40 pounds of cocaine and heroin into Riverside County pleaded guilty Thursday to transportation of drugs for sale and was immediately sentenced to five years mandatory supervision in lieu of jail.
Raymond Steven Gonzalez was arrested April 14 after he was stopped by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Temecula.
During a status hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, the prosecution and defense announced a plea agreement under which Gonzalez admitted the felony count, as well as a sentence-enhancing allegation of possessing in excess of 25 pounds of illegal drugs.
In exchange for the defendant’s admissions, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office dropped two counts of possession of controlled substances for sale and one count of illegal transportation of narcotics.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon certified the terms of the plea deal and imposed the stipulated sentence.
According to the U.S. Border Patrol, on the morning of April 14, 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.
As the defendant transitioned from Temecula Parkway onto state Route 79, the patrolmen initiated a traffic stop, and Gonzalez pulled the SUV onto the shoulder of the roadway, agency spokeswoman Mary Caston said.
A service dog was deployed to search the Ford and immediately signaled his handler that drugs were present.
Caston alleged that 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 on the spot.
He had no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.
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