3 arrested after agents use fake cocaine to bust Saginaw drug de - WNEM TV 5

3 arrested after agents use fake cocaine to bust Saginaw drug deal

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Three men are behind bars after police busted a drug deal that started in California and ended in Saginaw.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, deputies with the Will County Sheriff’s Department in Illinois performed a traffic stop about 11:40 p.m. on March 25 for a 2014 Nissan Versa with an Arizona license plate.

A search of the vehicle found 10-kilogram packages of cocaine inside a duffel bag in the trunk of the car, according to the court documents. That's about $400,000 worth of cocaine.

The driver of the car agreed to speak with police and said they picked up the cocaine in Ontario, California on Thursday, March 22. The driver told police they were told to deliver the cocaine to Saginaw.

The driver then gave police permission to search a cell phone and investigators found the key contact for the drug deal.

In the presence of police, the driver called the person who was supposed to receive the drugs in Saginaw. It was later arranged the cocaine would be delivered on Monday, March 26 to a home on 12th Street.

In conjunction with the DEA, the driver drove to the location and placed a duffel bag of imitation cocaine in the passenger compartment of a gray Ford parked in the driveway. The driver was then told by the contact to return the next day to pick up the money.

Shortly after the driver left, the DEA saw two men approach the home. One of the men opened the passenger-side door to the gray Ford vehicle. The men then entered the home and left shortly after. They got into a red SUV parked in a vacant lot across the street, according to the documents. 

The DEA agents then executed a federal search warrant for the home and stopped the red SUV. Inside the home, the agents recovered the duffel bag containing fake cocaine.

Investigators found three men, Jesus Manuel Valles, Jesus Ernesto Lugo and Martin Ruiz-Espitias inside the red SUV. They also found one juvenile male.

According to the affidavit, agents found a set of keys which fit the gray Ford in the front pants pocket of Lugo. Inside the red SUV, agents also recovered the cell phone used to arrange the drug deal.

In an interview with investigators, Ruiz-Espitias admitted he lived at the home on 12th street in Saginaw. The hometowns of the other two men were not released, nor were their ages. 

All three men are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

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