A driver and passenger were arrested Wednesday afternoon after a California Highway Patrol officer and K-9 found narcotics during a traffic stop in Merced County.
A CHP officer stopped a 2020 Ford Expedition for allegedly following too close to another vehicle on northbound Highway 99 north of Le Grand Road, according to a CHP news release.
Upon making contact, the officer noted several factors that led him to believe the vehicle’s occupants were engaged in criminal activity. Authorities said CHP K-9 officer Beny was used to conduct an exterior sniff of the vehicle and alerted to the odor of narcotics.
The officer conducted a probable-cause search of the vehicle and discovered about 76 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, as well as five pounds of cocaine on the rear seat and floor, according to the news release.
According to the CHP, both the driver, Alejandro Calvo Nevarez, 34, and passenger Ismael Lopez, 36, both of Ceres, were arrested for possession for sale of a controlled substance, transportation for sale of a controlled substance, possession for sale of a controlled substance and sale, and transport or import of illegal substance into the state.
According to CHP Officer Eric Zuniga, the suspects were not booked into jail due to COVID-19 guidelines.