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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Republic Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Meth

Police Officers Found Meth After Stopping to Assist with Stalled Vehicle

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Republic, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today after police officers who stopped to help with his stalled vehicle discovered methamphetamine in the back seat.

 

William Cruz Martinez, 40, of Republic, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 15 years and eight months in federal prison without parole.

 

On Sept. 28, 2015, Martinez pleaded guilty to possessing methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. Martinez admitted that he was in possession of a total of 148.05 grams of methamphetamine when he was approached by a Springfield police officer on Oct. 1, 2013.

 

According to court documents, Martinez’s 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe was stopped at a flashing red light at the intersection of Fremont Street and Bennett Avenue in Springfield. The Tahoe appeared to be stalled, so the officer activated his emergency lights to warn oncoming traffic and approached Martinez, the driver. Martinez appeared nervous and stated that he was having car trouble. After checking his identity information, the officer told Martinez that he was free to leave and asked him if he needed his vehicle towed. Martinez said he would have a friend come and help him. The officer told Martinez that he would standby in his vehicle until his friend arrived, so other motorists would not strike him, and Martinez thanked him.

 

As the officer started walking towards his patrol vehicle, another officer motioned to him to look in the back passenger seat of Martinez’s vehicle. The officer saw in plain view a clear plastic bag containing methamphetamine on the passenger side back seat. Martinez grabbed the plastic bag and attempted to hide or destroy it. Officers pulled Martinez out of the vehicle, at which time he dropped the bag, which was recovered by one of the officers.

 

During a search of the vehicle, officers found a lunchbox under the hood, inside the air filter box. Inside the lunch box were clear plastic bags containing methamphetamine, individually packaged for distribution. Officers seized a total of 148.05 grams of methamphetamine from Martinez’s vehicle.

 

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nhan D. Nguyen. It was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Springfield, Mo., Police Department.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated April 19, 2016