PASCO -- A Pasco man and woman have been charged with allegedly trafficking methamphetamine after a traffic stop this week turned up 2 pounds of the drug, a loaded handgun and cash.
Enrique Reyes-Mata, 25, and Maricela Alfaro-Michel, 21, are scheduled to appear Tuesday in Franklin County Superior Court and enter pleas in the new cases.
Reyes-Mata is charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver and possessing a stolen firearm.
Alfaro-Michel -- who also goes by Maricela Michel Alfaro -- has one count of possession of meth with intent to deliver.
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The drug charge for each includes special allegations that the crime occurred within a drug-free zone as set by Pasco Municipal Code, and that either the suspect or the accomplice at the time was armed.
Pasco police Officer Jed Abastillas said he was north on 11th Avenue at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday when he saw a black Chevrolet in front of him make a right turn into a motel parking lot without using the turn signal.
Abastillas said he activated his emergency lights and stopped the vehicle as it pulled into a parking stall at the Sage 'N Sun Motel near the cable bridge. The officer told Reyes-Mata why he'd stopped him and got a Washington identification card and vehicle registration. Reyes-Mata reportedly did not have insurance documents.
Passenger Jose Martinez, 28, helped interpret for Abastillas, court documents said. Martinez was identified earlier this week by Pasco police as Antonio Marcos DeLeon.
Officers confirmed that Reyes-Mata had an active third-degree driving with a suspended license count and four priors. He and Martinez also had outstanding warrants and were taken into custody.
Abastillas said in court documents that he was searching Reyes-Mata before placing the suspect in his patrol car when he noticed a woman walk up to the Chevrolet, place a child's car seat in the back seat and put her daughter in it. The woman, Alfaro-Michel, is said to be the girlfriend of one of the male occupants.
Alfaro-Michel was told to take her child out because the vehicle was going to be towed, but she walked away without getting her daughter, Abastillas said. The officer later repeated himself and Alfaro-Michel got her daughter, then said she needed to grab a diaper bag from the back seat.
Abastillas said he didn't recall seeing such a bag in the Chevrolet but, before he could tell Alfaro-Michel to stop, she got a drawstring backpack from underneath the front passenger seat, documents said.
Police already had found a large bundle of cash and a digital scale in Reyes-Mata's pockets, along with his cellphone and wallet, court documents said. So officers were concerned the backpack -- which did not look like a diaper bag -- held a weapon and told Alfaro-Michel to hand it over just as she was opening it, documents said.
Officer Jeffrey Cobb looked in the bag and saw two packages, allegedly wrapped in several layers of red plastic-type wrap consistent with narcotics trafficking. Cobb got a search warrant for the vehicle and the backpack and confirmed the packages held meth, court documents said.
The street value was said to be $25,000.
Police also found a small baggie of cocaine inside an air vent near the steering wheel, a baggie of meth hidden inside the roof lining by the sunroof and a loaded .45-caliber pistol under the driver's seat, documents said.
Alfaro-Michel, interviewed after her arrest, said Reyes-Mata told her to remove the bag, which was her child's diaper bag. She claimed it was supposed to hold diapers, but when she looked inside she thought it was weed because "it looks like stuff on TV," court documents said.
Cobb was following up Wednesday morning on the pistol found inside the car and went to the home of the last registered owner. A woman provided records showing she had sold the gun to a relative about eight months prior, documents said.
Police visited that man, who went to show where he stored that gun only to discover it was gone. The man said he'd last seen it four to five days previously, so authorities took a report of the stolen firearm.
Martinez reportedly has not been charged in the alleged drug crime.
Reyes-Mata is in the Franklin County jail on $100,000 bail, along with warrants and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
Alfaro-Michel's bail also is set at $100,000.