On the night of March 3rd, the Frio County Sheriff’s Office led a multi-agency drug bust, assisted by the United States Border Patrol and the Pearsall Police Department.
As the task force approached the house located on a dark county road outside Dilley, the team of officers watched in disbelief as two vehicles pulled up to the driveway. The residence, long suspected of drug activity, just received a few unlucky customers.
“Sheriff’s Department! Search warrant! Get on the ground!” each officer shouted as they disembarked from their vehicles and moved in on the house. The perimeter team detained the suspected customers in the front yard, but as the entry team ran toward the front door, a pit-bull charged at the officers.
“We knew that there were one or two dogs there that could have posed a danger,” said Chief Deputy Mike Cantu. “But it was more excited than anything.” Luckily for the deputies, the pit-bull just wanted to play.
“There’s a window that had the blinds open next to the door. We saw a female look out before taking off running,” said Cantu.
The deputies breached the front door and entered in formation. Two women darted down the hallway, hopping a dog gate, making their way toward the bathroom.
“They were going to destroy the evidence,” Cantu said of Amanda Romero, 47, and Elsa Lopez, 46. Caught by surprise, “her main focus was to get to the restroom and flush.” The officers apprehended the two women before they were able to discard the evidence.
During the operation, yet another vehicle approached the house, driven by a suspected customer. “Store’s closed,” Sheriff Albert De Leon told him.
Romero carried a makeup bag with approximately sixty grams of methamphetamine- slightly smaller than a baseball. Elsa Lopez was found with about one gram. Both suspects were charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. With all of the suspects secured, the Border Patrol K9 further searched the house, finding marijuana, money, and weapons.
Romero was taken by ambulance to the hospital, complaining of an injury to her ankle. Once there, she refused treatment according the Sheriff’s Office and was transported to jail. Juan Mejia, 57, was also arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance, and the remaining three people at the house were taken into custody for questioning but later released without charges.
At the Sheriff’s Office, deputies weighed the meth and counted the $912 in cash seized in the arrest. “This drug is ruining America,” Chief Deputy Mike Cantu lamented as they laid the dope on the table. “Nearly every crime is attributed back to drugs. Theft, assault, anything like that. Most people that get hooked on methaphetamine- it’s hard to kick. Good people who are hard working people for whatever reason take a hit, and it affects everybody in their life.”
The source of the meth is still under investigation. Romero and Mejia declined to comment for this story.
–written by Jose Asuncion.
Jose received an MFA from University of Southern California in 2008, a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2003, and is a former writer/photographer for the Frio-Nueces Current of South Texas.
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