An illegal Mexican national caught in June on Interstate 70 with 2.2 pounds of cocaine and another 2 pounds of crystal meth in his truck pleaded guilty Friday to a drug possession charge.
Margarito Sanchez, 32, pleaded guilty to an amended count related to the crystal meth that gives Madison County Common Pleas Judge Eamon Costello wider discretion in sentencing Sanchez on Nov. 9. Costello could sentence Sanchez to as few as three years or as many as 11 years in prison and order him to pay as much as a $10,000 fine, depending on the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.
A plea bargain with the county prosecutor’s office resulted in the amended count and dismissed a second count related to possessing the cocaine. However, Sanchez also agreed to forfeit the Ford F-150 pick-up he was diving at the time of his arrest, as well as $2,000 in cash found in the truck to local authorities.
Costello also cautioned Sanchez that he could face deportation once his prison time is served.
Deputies stopped the truck Sanchez was driving eastbound on the freeway about 2:30 a.m. June 9 for failing to display a front Ohio license plate and changing lanes without signaling. When the Washington driver’s license Sanchez produced proved phony, deputies became suspicious and called in a drug-sniffing dog from the Hilliard Police Department.
The dog alerted to the presence of narcotics in an amplifier on the truck’s floorboard and a search turned up the illegal drugs.
A passenger in the truck, Silvia Franco Rodriguez, 26, also an illegal Mexican, was also charged in the incident.
However, assistant county prosecutor Nick Adkins said those charges were later dropped and Rodriguez was released to U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement.
The woman’s 4-year-old, who was sleeping in the truck at the time of the stop, remains in the custody of Madison County Children’s Services, pending a future hearing in the local juvenile court.
Jane Beathard is a contributing writer for The Madison Press.