ST. LOUIS – Two people are behind bars after a recent traffic stop in St. Louis County led authorities to a shipment of illegal drugs.
Francisco Manuel Mata-Martinez, 41, of El Paso, Texas, and Maricela Vazquez-Vargas, 38, of St. Louis, were indicted on felony charges in the case.
The traffic stop happened on an undisclosed date earlier this month on Interstate 44.
Prior to the arrests, DEA agents relayed a tip to St. Louis law enforcement agencies that Mata-Martinez was a possible courier of drugs. Police then pulled over a vehicle linked to Mata-Martinez, and a narcotics dogs alerted officers of suspicious substances.
According to an affadavit, officers found a duffle bag with seven packages containing a total of 8.5 kilograms of suspected fentanyl, 40 packages containing 25.7 kilograms of suspected methamphetamine and 1.2 kilos of suspected ketamine.
Vazquez-Vargas then arrived in the 4200 block of Delor Street in St. Louis to meet for a suspected drug delivery. Police later arrested Vazquez-Vargas and found a kilogram of cocaine at her home, per the affidavit.
Mata-Martinez was indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl and one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Vazquez-Vargas was indicted on a conspiracy charge and a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Both are expected to appear in court on February 23. They could face up to 40 years in prison of $15 million in fines.