Traffic stop leads to drugs, arrests

Article author: 
Kyle Odegard
Article publisher:
Article date: 
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Article category: 
Article Body: 

Drugs discovered during an Albany traffic stop Monday afternoon led detectives to Salem, where police arrested two men suspected of dealing methamphetamine.

About two pounds of meth and more than $5,000 in cash were seized.

Police served search warrants on two Salem residences after midnight on Tuesday, busting open the door of one home.

Albany Police Detective Lt. Brad Liles said local drug investigations often lead police out of Linn County, because major traffickers don’t typically live in the area.

And individuals caught with controlled substances often will cooperate with police, he added.

The little fish will sell out the big fish.

“That’s how the drug world works,” Liles said.

Enrique Gallegos-Zaragoza, 32, and Antonio Mendoza-Garcia, 28, both of Salem, were arrested on charges of delivery and possession of methamphetamine, and delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold was placed on Gallegos-Zaragoza, who also was charged with first-degree child neglect.

Mendoza-Garcia’s initial bail was set at more than $1 million, and he was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, as well.

Corvallis police and the Salem task force of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency assisted Albany police in serving the search warrants.

Liles said that after the traffic stop, the driver helped police set up a drug buy with Gallegos-Zaragoza in the parking lot near the Roth’s IGA and McDonald’s off Portland Road in Salem.

Gallegos-Zaragoza was arrested at about 6:30 p.m. Police secured his home in a trailer park off Lancaster Drive until a search warrant was obtained.

Further investigation also led police to a house in the 3900 block of N.E. 39th Avenue.

Early Tuesday morning, police served the search warrants on the residences.

The cash was found at Gallegos-Zaragoza’s home.

Police forced open the door on Mendoza-Garcia’s 39th Avenue residence and found the meth.

Liles said an Albany dealer would typically purchase an ounce of methamphetamine for about $1,000, but broken down into user amounts, the value would be much higher.