Gloria N. Iniguez Gonzalez sits with a Spanish-English interpreter as her companion (center) waits at their hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – For the second night in a row this week, Centralia police detective Chad Withrow pulled over a driver who failed to use their turn signal, and turned up a sizable amount of methamphetamine.
Like Tuesday when a pound and three quarters of meth was located in a vehicle pulled off Interstate 5 at the 13th Street exit in Chehalis, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rick VanWyck arrived with his drug sniffing K-9 on Wednesday night to the parking lot at McDonald’s on Median Street.
According to court documents, Withrow and a second detective saw a vehicle approach them in the hours of darkness with only one functioning headlight. They followed and soon, it made a turn without using the blinker and was stopped for the infractions, the documents relate.
A man and a woman with a 1-year-old boy were asked to exit the vehicle.
According to VanWyck, the dog “alerted” on the trunk area and a request to the occupants to search was turned down, so Withrow secured a so-called telephonic search warrant, according to charging papers.
Discovered under the seat where the woman had been sitting, were three clear plastic bags, each containing approximately one ounce of a crystal substance that field tested positive for meth, according to the documents. Six hundred thirty-three dollars were found in a pouch behind the driver’s seat.
Both were charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.
The driver, named as Eduardo F. Morales Martinez, 37, of Shelton, in court documents, was additionally charged with first-degree criminal impersonation.
“We don’t know who he is,” Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told a judge yesterday afternoon. “He gave a couple different names that don’t check out in the state’s database.”
Meagher said he hoped to verify the man’s identity with fingerprints and asked for a no-bail hold.
Judge Joely O’Rourke set bail at $500,000, citing serious concerns about the identity issue.
Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello wrote that a more thorough check indicated Morales Martinez had prior convictions for delivery of a controlled substance and driving under the influence as well as multiple deportations and illegal entries.
Bail for the passenger, Gloria N. Iniguez Gonzalez, 38, of the Olympia area, was set at $10,000. Meagher and temporary defense attorney Rachael Tiller said she has no criminal history.
Her 16-year-old son and 19-year-old brother were on hand at the brief hearing yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.
Charging documents state that when the male driver was first contacted, he identified himself as Antonio Ortiz Hernandez and provided three Mexican ID cards that showed as such. One of them had a different birthdate than the other two, Masiello wrote in the affidavit regarding probable cause.
Upon further questioning and a look inside his wallet that turned up a bank card issued to Eduardo Morales, the driver said the card belonged to his son, according to the documents.
Masiello wrote that after the drugs were found and the two arrested, the driver said his true name was Eduardo Morales Martinez. His driver’s license was suspended.
The two were booked into the Lewis County Jail. Their arraignments are set for Thursday.
Hancel Zagal Alcaraz, 28, from Pasco, remains held in jail with bail set at $25,000, following his separate arrest on Tuesday night and a criminal charge filed on Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court.
He was allegedly speeding, failing to signal lane changes and displaying no license plate or visible trip permit on northbound Interstate 5 when members of the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team pulled him over and asked him to move to the AM/PM at the 13th Street exit.
Charging documents in his case indicate Deputy VanWyck’s K-9 Axel detected controlled substances that led to a search of his vehicle.
His girlfriend handed over a brown tar substance wrapped in plastic along with two pieces of a crystal substance to detective Withrow, according to court documents.
Another detective found a coffee container that seemed heavier than it should be, reached into the coffee and located three large packages of a crystal substance, according to the documents. In total, they weighed 28.5 ounces and field tested positive as meth.
There is no indication the girlfriend was arrested.
Zagal Alcaraz allegedly told detectives the auto repair business he owns in Pasco is a front he uses to distribute controlled substances in Chehalis, Olympia, Tacoma and Everett.
He was charged the next day with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver. Zagal Alcaraz has no felony criminal history in the state.
For background, read “Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – JNET: PACKAGES OF CRYSTAL METH HIDDEN IN COFFEE CONTAINER from Wednesday March 8, 2017, here