Woman in car with 8 pounds of cocaine gets probation

Published 2:32 pm Saturday, July 23, 2016

An Arizona woman found in a vehicle with more than 8 pounds of cocaine on Interstate 35 in Freeborn County in 2014 was placed on probation for two years Thursday in Freeborn County District Court.

Maria Guadalupe Nunez-Arenas de Garcia, 70,  of Tolleson, Arizona, was sentenced after pleading guilty to aiding an offender to avoid arrest in April.

Nunez-Arenas de Garcia was sentenced to 364 days in jail — 353 days were stayed and she was given credit for 11 days served.

Maria Nunez-Arenas  de Garcia

Maria Nunez-Arenas
de Garcia

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She was in the right-hand passenger side of a vehicle that contained three packages with a total of 8.5 pounds of cocaine in September 2014 on a traffic stop near the overpass bridge on Interstate 90.

Court documents state a Minnesota State Patrol trooper initially pulled over the vehicle because it did not have a rear license plate light on.

Rogelio Rocha, also of Tolleson, was the driver and was found to have an Arizona driver’s license. The vehicle was registered in Minnesota but had a license plate registration sighting on Interstate 40 in Arizona that same month.

A search of the vehicle with a dog reportedly alerted to the odor of drugs from the car near the passenger-side quarter panel and the front bumper.

The trooper found two packages behind the glove box and near the front quarter panel. The third package was under the center console of the driver’s side.

Eliel Garcia of Bloomington and Jose Luis Ramirez of Phoenix were also charged in connection with the incident.

Charges have been dismissed against Rocha and Garcia, and Ramirez faces sentencing in connection with the case on Aug. 4.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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