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Published: Saturday, 9/30/2006

Pair charged in turnpike stop held in lieu of bond

Two people arrested for having nearly 40 pounds of suspected cocaine, with a street value of about $1.8 million, in their pickup on the Ohio Turnpike appeared yesterday in Maumee Municipal Court.

Jose Gonzalez-Echeverria, 49, of Oklahoma City and Sylvia Samaniego-Barraza, 46, of El Paso were being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $1 million bonds, authorities said. The Ohio State Highway Patrol originally said Mr. Gonzalez-Echeverria s age was 39, but corrected it yesterday.

Each suspect was charged with possession of cocaine, trafficking in cocaine, and possession of criminal tools.

Ms. Samaniego-Barraza was driving eastbound on the turnpike, east of Toledo Express Airport, when she was stopped Thursday for marked lanes and registration violations. A drug dog alerted to the pickup, and troopers found the suspected cocaine in the cab.



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