12/07/07 — Million-dollar traffic stop

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Million-dollar traffic stop

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on December 7, 2007 1:46 PM

An SUV with an electronic compartment filled with about 30 pounds of cocaine speeded through Mount Olive late Wednesday night, perhaps headed for Trenton, authorities say.

The two Trenton men inside the 2001 Isuzu Trooper pulled over for speeding were nervous -- roommates Eduardo A. Alamanza, 35, and Sergio A. Reyna, 20, of Nobles Loop Road.

Their nervousness on N.C. 55 near Dobbersville Road was their downfall, members of the Sheriff's Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Team said.

"The way they were acting, we knew there was something wrong," Cpl. Jerry Maxwell said. "So we just kept looking."

Law enforcement's continued search led to a small lid under the back of one of the seats in the vehicle, Maxwell said. Sgt. Mike Cox made the discovery with him.

"It wouldn't come up," Maxwell said. "We pried it far enough to see the straps holding it, cut the straps, and it came open."

Inside, tightly packed cocaine in 14 rectangular blocks sat wrapped in brown paper, the investigating officers said. The estimated street value of the drugs was set at $2 million by investigators.

As soon as law enforcement found the drugs, Alamanza and Reyna stopped talking, Maj. George Raecher said.

"After they found the dope, the two people in the car invoked the right to a lawyer," Raecher said. "So we can't interview them."

That means officers are not exactly sure where the cocaine came from or where it was headed, Raecher said.

Law enforcement said the blocks of cocaine were wrapped up with some sort of substance to throw off canine officers.

The blocks themselves seemed to be wrapped with some sort of brown paper, then covered with plastic wrapping.

Raecher looked at the blocks as another officer commented that the inventory system was impressive.

Underneath the plastic, there were black markings that officers assumed indicated where the drugs were picked up and perhaps how much cocaine was inside.

"They've got a good press to pack it," Maxwell said. Officers who handled the blocks on a wooden table and tapped them lightly a few times, proving Maxwell's point with a loud thunking noise as they hit the wood.

Sheriff Carey Winders said this was the largest single cocaine arrest in known Wayne County history, and at least the largest seizure since he founded the A.C.E. Team in 1996.

"You never know what you are going to get from a speeding motorist," Winders said in a press release. "These two officers have received numerous hours of highway interdiction training and are simply good at what they do."