Crime

In 4 hours, Hancock cops find 8 pounds of meth and 21 undocumented immigrants on I-10

Border Patrol agents keep an eye out for human traffickers on the Coast

I-10 is a busy thoroughfare for drugs, smuggled humans
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I-10 is a busy thoroughfare for drugs, smuggled humans

Hancock County investigators discovered 21 undocumented immigrants in three different vehicles on Interstate 10 on Tuesday, a narcotics commander said, and one vehicle had 8 pounds of meth inside.

Hancock County narcotics officer Jeremy Skinner said a criminal interdiction agent stopped two Honda Pilots simultaneously on I-10 just after midnight Tuesday. The SUVs were pulled over near the 10-mile marker and were traveling east.

Skinner said there nine undocumented immigrants in each SUV. They ranged in age from 17 to 50.

There were 17 males and one female, Skinner said.

Both vehicles were en route from Texas and heading to Florida, Skinner said. U.S. Border Patrol took custody of the 18 people.

About four hours later, an agent stopped a 2017 Jeep Cherokee that was also traveling east on I-10 in Hancock County, Skinner said.

Skinner said three men and a woman were inside of the SUV where agents also found 8 pounds of meth packaged in sandwich bags.

Two firearms also were recovered from the Jeep.

The three passengers in the car — 31-year-old Diana Sort, 33-year-old Manuel Pulido-Rodas and 24-year-old Erik Betancourt-Olguin — are undocumented immigrants, Skinner said.

The driver, Erick Contreras, is a U.S. Citizen.

Contreras, Sorto, Pulido-Rodas and Erik Betancourt-Olguin were all arrested on federal meth charges, Skinner said.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_

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