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Published: Friday, 9/23/2011

Troopers arrest 3, seize drugs in turnpike stops

 Robert Nevarez Robert Nevarez

Bond was set at $2 million each yesterday for two California men arrested after state troopers allegedly found cocaine in their vehicle during a traffic stop on the Ohio Turnpike in Maumee.

Vicente Quezada, Jr. Vicente Quezada, Jr.

The seizure and arrest yesterday was the second on the turnpike in Lucas County in two days. On Wednesday, a Cleveland woman was found to be transporting 39 pounds of marijuana, also discovered after a traffic stop, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Maria Voileta Montanez Maria Voileta Montanez

Robert Navarez, 25, of Los Angeles, and Vicente Quezada, Jr., 21, of Van Nuys, Calif., were charged with drug abuse, aggravated drug trafficking, drug abuse, and possession of criminal tools. They were stopped at 3:11 a.m. yesterday in the eastbound lane near the U.S. 20 interchange for an alleged improper lane change. A drug-sniffing dog alerted authorities to their vehicle.

Troopers estimated the 53 pounds of cocaine found during a search has a street value of $2.4 million.

Maria V. Montanez, 36, of Cleveland, was arrested Wednesday after troopers stopped the eastbound auto she was driving at 1:07 a.m. in Springfield Township between the U.S. 20 and State Rt. 2 interchanges for speeding.

A drug-dog alert and search revealed the marijuana, valued at $90,000. She is charged with aggravated drug trafficking and drug abuse.

All three suspects were booked into the Lucas County jail.

The California men appeared later Thursday via video link to Maumee Municipal Court and scheduled for Sept. 29 preliminary hearings. Ms. Montanez appeared by way of video link Wednesday, with bond set at $200,000. Her case was bound over yesterday to the Lucas County grand jury.

If convicted, the two men each face up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $40,000, while Ms. Montanez could spend 10 years in prison and be fined up to $20,000.

-- David Patch

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