I-85 stop nets $150K in cocaine

by WES MAYER

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Coweta County Sheriff's Office Lt. Col. Jimmy Yarbrough shows the cash found along with more than 4 pounds of powdered cocaine in a vehicle traveling on Interstate 85 in Coweta County.

A large amount of cash and more than 4 pounds of powdered cocaine were discovered in a vehicle traveling on Interstate 85 in Coweta County late Tuesday.

Coweta County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeff Bugg stopped a 2003 Ford Expedition around 11 p.m. for a covered license plate violation. According to Bugg, the driver, Ernesto Macias Ruiz, admitted he was driving without a valid driver’s license and acted suspiciously about a bag inside his vehicle. Another man, John Reyes, was in the passenger’s seat.

“Each time I asked if I could search the vehicle,” Bugg said, “the driver sighed heavily and glanced at a blue and black bag in the back seat.”

Both the driver and passenger cooperated, and gave Bugg consent to search. Upon investigating the bag, a pink plastic-wrapped package was found wedged between two duct tape-wrapped packages, Bugg said.

Unwrapping the duct-taped packages revealed a large amount of cash later counted as $122,000. Unwrapping the pink plastic revealed a block of at least 4 pounds of cocaine valued at approximately $150,000, sheriff’s officials said.

“It is rare to find both a large amount of drugs and a large amount of cash on a bust like this,” said Coweta County Sheriff Mike Yeager. “Usually it is either one or the other.”

Ruiz and Reyes were in the process of driving from Atlanta to San Antonio, Texas, when they were stopped, authorities said. They were both charged with trafficking cocaine, and Ruiz was also charged for an illegal license cover and driving without a license.




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