Large pot bust made during saturation patrol Friday

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Reporter

Nine and one-half pounds of marijuana were recovered after two Portales residents were arrested on Friday evening during a criminal interdiction patrol that took place in Roosevelt County for the first time, according to a press release issued by the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office.

Patricia Villanueva, 26, was arrested and charged with driving on revocation and possession with intent to distribute after officials recovered one-half pound of marijuana from her vehicle during a traffic stop on Friday. Her passenger, Issac Montano II, 45, was also arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, said Chief Deputy Malin Parker.

Members of the Region V Drug Task Force were called in to obtain a search warrant and subsequent search of Montano’s residence, located at 513 South Avenue E in Portales, where an additional nine pounds of marijuana was recovered, Shawn Gore, Roosevelt County sheriff’s deputy and member of the Region V Drug Task Force, said.

“I think it will send a clear message that all agencies are working to combat drug sales in our area,” Gore said of the arrest.

The estimated street value of the marijuana is between $15,000 and $20,000, according to the press release.

Sheriffi’s deputies from Roosevelt and Curry counties as well as officers from the Portales and Clovis Police Departments were part of a highway saturation patrol that targeted areas of US 70, US 60/84, and NM 206, and utilized 22 officials from within the participating departments, Parker said.

In conjunction with the New Mexico Investigative Support Center, funding for the saturation patrol was provided through High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area ( HIDTA). The saturation patrols are utilized to look for stolen vehicles, drugs, wanted persons and other illegal activities, Parker said.

“We work highways that are known for interstate drug travel and they (HIDTA) pays overtime costs at no charge to the county,” Parker said.

“This is and will continue to be a joint effort of all agencies in District 9. The teamwork that the agencies showed in working together was excellent,” Roosevelt County Sheriff Darren Hooker said.

More patrols of this nature are planned in the future, though definite dates have not been set, said Parker.