BEDMINSTER TWP., Pa. - A traffic stop in Bucks County eventually led to the seizure of nearly $4 million worth of drugs, according to Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub.
The investigation began after a Bedminster Township patrol officer pulled over a Jeep Friday night for swerving four times over the fog line and the driver consented to a search, Weintraub said in a news conference Thursday. The search led to the seizure of one kilogram of heroin/fentanyl and nine kilograms of cocaine with a street value of $1.2 million, Weintraub said.
That bust led to a search of a tractor trailer Wednesday night at a truck stop in Lehigh County where detectives found nine more kilograms of heroin/fentanyl valued at $2.7 million, Weintraub said. The two searches also led to the recovery of more than $43,000 in cash, a handgun, six cellphones, additional drugs, including almost $29,000 in Percocet pills, and four Jesus Malverde candles, known as the Patron Saint of narco-traffickers, Weintraub said.
After an investigation, authorities say Christian Ochoa, 28, of Laredo, Texas, drove the drugs across the country, which were likely headed to New York. He was likely just "passing through" Bucks County when he was stopped, Weintraub said. "We saved somebody else a lot of heartache and pain," he said.
Edith Tomasa Rodriguez Cardenas, 27, of Huntington Park, California, was a passenger in his car during the traffic stop. Weintraub said the arrests were likely part of a much larger narco-trafficking organization and he will utilize partnerships with federal agencies to track the source of the drugs.
Ochoa and Rodriguez Cardenas were charged Friday night in the initial traffic stop with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, conspiracy to commit possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a small amount of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Ochoa was also charged with a lane violation.
Both were arraigned and sent to Bucks County Correctional Facility under $1 million bail each. Charges are pending related to the Lehigh County search, Weintraub said. In that search, a tractor trailer that Ochoa owned and had the logo "Ochoa Transport Services" was parked in Upper Macungie Township.