Man caught with meth in spare tire says he was visiting Yogi Bear in Yellowstone
Dec 15, 2017 11:55 AM
By: Aja Goare - MTN News
(BILLINGS) Manuel Paz Sanchez Jr. is facing federal charges after he was arrested in Columbus for allegedly trafficking 8 pounds of methamphetamine in a spare tire.
Sanchez made his initial appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Billings on one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Sanchez was arrested in Stillwater County on Tuesday after a Montana Highway Patrol trooper noticed he was following a car too closely on Interstate 90.
Sanchez provided the trooper with a California driver’s license and a rental agreement for the vehicle from Sacramento.
At first, Sanchez claimed he was coming from Idaho, where he was visiting family. Sanchez then explained he was planning to return the rental car to California, but then decided to take a cheaper flight out of North Dakota.
The trooper became suspicious about Sanchez’ travel plans. When further questioned, Sanchez could not remember the names of the town he had been visiting or the city he planned to fly out of.
Sanchez told an officer with the Drug Enforcement Agency Task Force that he was coming from Yellowstone National Park where he had been visiting Yogi Bear.
Questioned about whether there were illegal substances in the vehicle, Sanchez said it was clear and gave consent to a search.
The trooper found a spare tire in the trunk that did not bounce when he dropped it on the ground.
The trooper believed based on his experience that the tire had been tampered with.
The tire was further examined and law enforcement found several vacuum sealed bags in the tire.
Testing revealed that the bags contained methamphetamine, according to federal court documents.
The bags weighed in at about 8 pounds.
Sanchez was arrested and booked at the Yellowstone County jail.