(STL.News) – A Kansas City, Missouri, man has been charged in federal court with drug trafficking after investigators seized 144 pounds of methamphetamine hidden in automobile wheels inside his shed.
Jorge A. Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 38, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
The federal criminal complaint alleges that Rodriguez-Gonzalez possessed 500 grams or more of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Rodriguez-Gonzalez remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing, which has not yet been scheduled.
According to an affidavit filed in support of the complaint, a confidential source told Independence, Missouri, police detectives that he/she purchased a minimum of one kilogram of methamphetamine from Rodriguez-Gonzalez at least five days per week. The confidential source engaged in a controlled buy of one kilogram of methamphetamine from Rodriguez-Gonzalez on Thursday, Oct. 10. When Rodriguez-Gonzalez arrived at the arranged meeting location with his wife and two children (a 6-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy), he was arrested. Officers seized a Glock handgun from a purse inside the vehicle. A police canine alerted to the presence of illegal drugs in the vehicle behind what appeared to be hidden compartments, the affidavit says. The vehicle was towed pending the execution of a search warrant.
On Friday, Oct. 11, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Rodriguez-Gonzalez’s residence. They seized an H&R Pardner Pump 20-gauge shotgun, a TGI Knox 7.62×39-caliber AK-style rifle, a bag that contained 471 grams of marijuana, what appeared to be a drug ledger, and cash from the residence.
Inside a detached shed, officers found a set of four Toyota wheels and tires. Because the tires seemed extremely heavy, the affidavit says, detectives cut one open and found a metal compartment attached to the inside of the wheel. The metal compartment was then cut open and found to contain methamphetamine.
Each wheel and tire was dismantled by investigators, who found methamphetamine packaged in an identical manner inside each of the four tires. Investigators found six packages of methamphetamine, each of which weighed approximately six pounds, inside each tire, for a total weight of 144 pounds of methamphetamine removed from the four tires.
During the execution of the search warrant, a police canine also alerted to the presence of illegal drugs in a Toyota Tundra and a GMC Sierra that were parked at the residence. The vehicles were towed and secured by law enforcement until search warrants are obtained.
The charge contained in this complaint is simply an accusation, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charge must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Kate Butterfield and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily A. Morgan. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department, the Jackson County Drug Task Force, and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.