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Pill surplus found in traffic stop

POSTED November 19, 2010 11:17 p.m.

A routine traffic stop in Modesto led authorities to seize thousands of pills used to manufacture methamphetamine and launched an investigation into the origin of the pills.

Shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, a Modesto police officer on patrol stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation near the intersection of Hatch and Crows Landing roads, in south Modesto. The driver, Anastacio Maldonado, 49, of South Gate was seen talking on his cellular phone as he was driving, Modesto Police Sgt. Rick Armendariz said.

During the stop, Maldonado told the officer that he was in possession of a Vicodin pill without a prescription. The officer arrested Maldonado without incident and continued his investigation.  A search of the vehicle revealed several plastic grocery bags, which were filled with hundreds of prescription blister packs that contained thousands of pills.

The pills were identified as pseudoephedrine and were in excess of 10,000, Armendariz said. Pseudoephedrine is a key ingredient in the making of methamphetamine. The pills recovered have an estimated street value of over $7,800, according to the Modesto Police Department.

Investigators from the Modesto Narcotic Enforcement Team were called to assist in the investigation and are tracking the origin of the pills, Armendariz said.Maldonado was booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.  He was charged with possession of precursors for methamphetamine with intent to manufacture, possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance, and an immigration hold.  Police ask anyone who may have information regarding this incident to please call Crime Stoppers at 521-4636. Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.  Tipsters can also text information to Crime Stoppers by sending a text message to 274637. Just type “TIP704” along with your message.

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