A Drug-Smuggling Truck Driver Was Caught after Crashing His Rig During the Icepocalypse
Those who could stay off the roads on Friday did so, but truckers, the grease that keeps American commerce humming, couldn't rest. They had consumer goods to deliver, groceries to restock, gasoline stations to replenish.
At around 3:30 p.m., police say Martin Barrera was transporting a particularly precious load of cargo east on U.S. 80 in Mesquite when he hit a patch of ice on the overpass crossing 635. He lost control, and his truck slammed into the median. Barrera avoided a plunge to the interstate below, but just barely. His truck came to rest atop the low concrete barrier.
Mesquite police arrived on the scene a few minutes later. While they were waiting for a wrecker to tow the disabled truck, they began conducting an inventory of the cargo.
What they found in the trailer isn't listed in a federal criminal complaint filed against Barrera on Monday, but inside a tall storage compartment directly behind the passenger seat they found a dozen packages, densely packed and bound with electrical tape. A small incision revealed a white powdery substance: cocaine.
Police seized the cocaine, 13.6 kilograms in all, and arrested Barrera on a charge of possession with intent to deliver five kilos or more of cocaine, a charge that carries 10 years to life in prison. During a pat-down police found a .40-caliber Smith and Wesson in a holster on his hip. A computer check revealed that Barrera has a valid concealed handgun license. He remains in custody.
For those of you following along at home, that's Icepocalypse 1, cocaine dealers 0.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.