MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A federal jury in Mobile found a man guilty of drug trafficking, according to the Department of Justice. Court documents show the man used an ice chest with a hidden compartment to smuggle methamphetamine.
The DOJ says the verdict was made on Wednesday, April 21, after a two-day trial. Another man involved with the drug smuggling plead guilty to charges.
Enrique Miranda Martinez, 47, a Cuban national who lives in Miami, along with Yuir Maikel Hernandez Perez, 39, a Cuban national who lives in Orlando, was stopped on I-10 in Baldwin County in June 2020 where about $400,000 worth of methamphetamine was found.
According to the DOJ, the two were stopped on I-10 on June 23, 2020, by a member of the Baldwin County Special Operations Division. The Special Operations Division’s job is interdicting drug trafficking along I-10 and I-65. The division is specially trained to look for signs that travelers may be engaging in drug trafficking.
After the officer approached the passenger side of the SUV he noticed an ice chest on the back seat behind Martinez who was driving the car. The ice chest showed signs that its lining had been removed and replaced. Another Special Operations Division officer then joined the investigation and interviewed the passenger, Perez. The interview of both Martinez and Perez gathered further clues that the pair had conflicting stories about their travels. A search of the SUV revealed the ice chest had a secret compartment to transport meth.
The investigation revealed that Martinez had bought a vacuum sealer at a Tucson, Arizona, Walmart before the pair were stopped in Baldwin County. Around 8.2 pounds of meth, also known as “ice” due to its purity, was found within the ice chest which had been vacuum-sealed by the same brand of the purchased vacuum.
The DOJ says the jury deliberated for less than an hour before rendering their guilty verdict on Martinez. Martinez was found guilty of Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and Possession with Intent to Distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine.
The court sentence for Martinez is scheduled to be held on Thursday, July 21. Martinez faces a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence to a maximum of life in prison and may also be subject to sentencing enhancements for testifying falsely at trial.
Perez pleaded guilty the morning of the trial. He will be sentenced on Monday, July 18.