By The Chronicle
A traffic stop on Interstate 5 by a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office sergeant led to the discovery of more than a pound of meth and a stolen firearm on Thursday.
On Friday, the vehicle’s occupants were charged in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.
Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Riordan executed a traffic stop near Exit 74 on northbound Interstate 5 Thursday, stopping a rental car driven by Michael Angelo Esparza, 23, of South Gate, California. According to court documents, Esparza, who was known to have a suspended driver’s license out of California, had been identified by a JNET detective while conducting rolling surveillance on the freeway.
Esparza was removed from the vehicle and detained for driving with a suspended license. Court documents also state that law enforcement found Esparza’s reason for traveling from California in a high end rental car to be suspicious.
A subsequent search of Esparza turned up a large amount of cash, which Esparza said came from his mobile hair-cutting business in California.
Esparza and his passenger, Tiana Michelle Good, are identified in court documents as intimate partners.
When contacted by law enforcement, Tiana Good, 24, Lynnwood, had a lap dog in her possession. She was eventually asked to exit the vehicle with her dog in order to allow a K9 unit to conduct an exterior inspection.
After the K9 showed interest in the inside of the vehicle, officers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and located a plastic bag containing 461 grams of large shards of a white crystalline substance, later identified as methamphetamine, inside a small dog carrier. The search also turned up a Springfield XD .40 caliber pistol under the passenger’s seat that had been reported stolen out of Pierce County on Dec. 19, 2016.
Esparza and Good made their court appearances while in custody on Friday. Esparza was assigned $20,000 bail and Good was assigned $10,000 bail. Both are due back in court Feb. 15 for arraignments and trial settings.
Possession of less than two kilos of methamphetamine with intent to deliver is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine between $1,000 and $25,000.