Man arrested with 100lb of meth has no prior record
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The man caught with nearly $1 million worth of methamphetamine during a traffic stop Monday has no criminal history, according to court records.
Colorado State Patrol pulled over Edgar Esquivel-Tecalco, 33, around 12:30 p.m. Monday near Glenwood Springs after a trooper observed him making unsafe lane changes and using a cellphone mounted on the windshield while along Interstate 70 and following other vehicles too closely.
The trooper said the car was speeding 5-9 miles over the speed limit.
After pulling him over at the Kum & Go gas station in West Glenwood, the trooper returned Esquivel’s license, registration and insurance documents, with “a verbal warning for the traffic violations,” according to court documents.
Esquivel said he was traveling from California to Denver to purchase a new car.
“I told (Esquivel) I had one other question for him,” the trooper wrote in the arrest affidavit.
The trooper gave Esquivel a written search consent form to sign, and asked if he understood it.
“After he signed the consent form I again asked him if he understood the form and agreed to it. He said yes,” the trooper wrote.
Investigators began searching the Honda minivan, and found bricks of methamphetamine in all four of the car’s interior door panels.
In total, law enforcement found 62 bricks that tested positive for methamphetamine, weighing 93 pounds in total, according to the affidavit.
The amount of methamphetamine seized “could be the largest in Garfield County,” Sheriff Lou Vallario said, but he doesn’t keep track of all the seizures.
Esquivel faces up to 32 years and a potential $1 million fine if convicted of unlawful distribution of a schedule 1 drug, a class 1 felony.
Ninth District prosecutor Tony Hershey said he is concerned the defendant will not appear in court if he can post bond, set Monday at $150,000 cash or surety.
Prosecutors asked for a $1 million bond, the estimated street value of the methamphetamine Esquivel was allegedly transporting. Despite not having a criminal record and having no failures to appear in court, Hershey urged a higher bond to ensure Esquivel would make it to court.
“If this defendant is able to post bond and leaves this state, we are never going to see him again,” Hershey said in a court hearing Tuesday.
Hershey said he is not certain of Esquivel’s immigration status, or what contacts he has in California, where he lives.
Ninth District Judge Denise Lynch said the amount of drugs found in the car represented a “huge risk to community and the country at large.”
The $150,000 cash or surety bond is commensurate with similar drug trafficking offenses, Lynch said.
As condition of the bond, Lynch ordered that Esquivel is not allowed to leave Colorado until his next court date Sept. 18.
A district court judge Thursday dismissed the remaining criminal counts against the owner of a Basalt-based chiropractor office who had been under grand-jury indictment for allegedly cooperating with one of his massage therapists accused of sexually assaulting clients.