A traffic stop on Interstate 70 early Friday yielded more than four pounds of illegal drugs, landed a Washington man and Texas woman in jail and placed the woman’s 4-year-old in the temporary custody of children’s services.
Margarito Sanchez, 32, and Silvia Franco Rodriguez, 26, are charged with possessing about 2.2 pounds of cocaine and about 2 pounds of methamphetamine. Because of the amount of drugs involved, the charges are first-degree felonies that carry maximum prison sentences of 10 years.
Both were arraigned in Madison County Municipal Court on Monday. Judge Eric Schooley ordered the two, who are in the United States illegally, held under $500,000 bond each. Both are likely to get court-appointed attorneys.
Moments later, Juvenile Judge Chris Brown ordered Rodriguez’ toddler son, who was born in the U.S., placed temporarily with Madison County Children’s Services until other family members could be located.
According to the sheriff’s report, deputies stopped a black Ford F-150 pick-up driven by Sanchez about 2:30 a.m. for failing to display a front Ohio license plate and changing lanes without signaling. The stop occurred in the eastbound lane of the freeway near the State Route 142 interchange.
The report said Sanchez appeared nervous and produced a Washington driver’s license that proved phony. Deputies then summoned an officer and drug-sniffing dog from the Hilliard Police Department.
The dog alerted to the presence of narcotics in an amplifier on the vehicle’s floorboard. A subsequent search turned up the suspected drugs, as well as several thousand dollars in U.S. currency in Rodriguez’ purse.
Rodriguez and her child were passengers in the vehicle. Speaking through an interpreter, the woman said the couple was traveling from Texas to the home of her relative in Clarksville, Tenn.
Lt. Eric Semler, chief investigator for the sheriff’s office, said street value of the confiscated drugs totaled about $60,000.
Preliminary hearings for both Sanchez and Rodriguez are set for 9 a.m. Friday in municipal court.
Jane Beathard is a contributing writer for The Madison Press.