- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A 31-year-old man will be sentenced Oct. 22 after pleading guilty to a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Federal court records show Isidro Duran Valerio entered the plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Gulfport. Valerio faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine at his sentencing Oct. 22. He also faces deportation. He is being held without bond.

The Sun Herald reports (https://bit.ly/1K5zmfw ) was living in Austin, Texas, when a Gulfport police officer pulled him over in a traffic stop Dec. 15 on Interstate 10. He was set for trial July 27 on a two-count indictment.

Valerio had tried to get a judge to suppress the evidence, claiming the search and seizure was illegal because there was no probable cause for the traffic stop.

The motion was denied after police testified at a hearing that an officer stopped Valerio because he was shifting lanes suddenly, causing traffic to move over quickly and was only a car-length behind a vehicle as it merged onto I-10.

The officer’s report said Valerio had no driver’s license, but showed an identification card from the South Texas Detention Center, a holding facility for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

While performing a background check, the officer learned Valerio had been driving a pickup truck in November in Harris County, Texas, when officers found $67,000 found hidden in the trunk.

The Gulfport police officer said Valerio gave permission to search his vehicle, and the officer noticed the vehicle’s windshield cowling had been removed and some of the bolts hadn’t been replaced.

The officer reported he lifted up the cowling and found the cocaine inside a T-shirt wrapped in a trash bag.

His indictment included a conspiracy count. That count was dismissed as part of his plea.


Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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