A Washington state man appeared in federal court Thursday, nearly a month after tow company workers off-loading cargo from a crashed produce truck found two bundles of illegal drugs that had fallen from the produce pallets.
Once sheriff's deputies turned up to investigate, they found 190 pounds of methamphetamine, 7 kilos of cocaine and 11 pounds of heroin inside the truck, federal officials said.
The crash happened back on Jan. 17 when 53-year-old Salvador Martinez-Perez was transporting a truck of fresh produce on Highway 97 in Central Oregon.
Martinez-Perez crashed and rolled the truck, and Sherman County deputies responded to the accident scene.
Initially, deputies didn't find anything suspicious, and they released Martinez-Perez from the crash scene.
The following day, a private tow company dispatched to the scene started to off-load the cargo inside the truck's trailer. That's when two bundles of narcotics fell from the produce pallets, and, later, the pounds upon pounds of illegal drugs were found, deputies said.
Martinez-Perez pleaded not guilty Thursday to four counts of conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute meth, cocaine and heroin.
He'll remain in federal custody until his April 22 trial date.
The U.S. Attorney's Office is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the Sherman County Sheriff's Office, the DEA and Oregon State Police.
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