A regular traffic stop netted 80 pounds of cocaine Friday in Orange County. At approximately 8:20 p.m., Feb. 1, Lt. Robert Strause and Sgt. Tom Ray of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office pulled over a black, 1999 Ford F150 pick-up  that was travelling east on IH-10 near Vidor. The truck had been observed traveling faster than other traffic and failed to signal lane changes. The vehicle was clocked at 70 miles per hour in a 65 mph zone and 68 mph in a posted 60 mph construction zone.

The truck was pulled over east of the 1442 overpass. Lt. Strause approached the truck and while explaining the nature of the offense, he asked the driver to step outside of the vehicle. The driver appeared  nervous as he related to the officer the details of his trip.

Lt. Strause then talked to the passenger and explained why they had been pulled over. The passenger also appeared to be nervous, plus, his account of the trip conflicted with that of the driver. The passenger also appeared to be fishing for things to do with his hands.

The driver was asked for permission to search the vehicle and it was granted. Officer Lane Mooney had stopped to assist the patrolmen and joined the search of the vehicle with Lt. Srause and Sgt. Ray.

Sgt. Ray noticed a piece of metal that appeared to have been placed under the right rear quarter panel which is consistent with a false compartment.The officers then located a wiring harness which appeared to have been spliced into, and did not look factory.

The vehicle was relocated to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office where  Officer Mooney’s drug detection dog, Rico, alerted them in the area of the rear tail lights on the suspect vehicle.

Two electronic compartments were found behind the tail lights of the vehicle.  Investigators located in the compartments more than eighty (80) pounds of a white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine.

Both occupants were arrested and transported to the Orange County Correctional Facility where they were released to the custody of the Correctional Officers. They were charged with Aggravated Possession of a Controlled Substance, a First Degree Felony.
Both suspects are Texas residents. Their names are being withheld pending arraignment.  Federal charges may be filed against both.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.