Crime

Modesto police seize 26 pounds of heroin during traffic stop near Keyes

The Modesto Police Narcotics Enforcement team seized 26 pounds of heroin during a traffic stop on Highway 99 near Keyes early Wednesday.
The Modesto Police Narcotics Enforcement team seized 26 pounds of heroin during a traffic stop on Highway 99 near Keyes early Wednesday. Modesto Police Department

The Modesto Police Narcotics Enforcement Team arrested a couple early Wednesday after finding 26 pounds of uncut heroin in their car, authorities said.

Officers pulled the car over on Highway 99 near Keyes about 1 a.m., said MNET Officer Chris Adams. Israel Alcazar, 34, and Isabel Soto-Mandragon, 20, both of Modesto, were in the car with their 10-month-old child.

Officer Mark Ulrich was called to the scene, where his K-9, Stryker, alerted to the scent of drugs.

Adams said MNET officers searched the car and found a sealed metal container beneath several diapers inside a cardboard diaper box. There were 26 pounds of uncut heroin in the container. Investigators also seized $1,200 in cash.

Adams said the amount and way it was packaged is typical of heroin that recently came from Mexico.

He said that pure form of heroin is sold for $8,000 to $10,000 a pound to midlevel drug dealers, who then cut it with agents such as powdered milk or sugar to increase the amount by up to four times. Once cut and sold on the street, Adams said, the amount seized Wednesday morning would have yielded $2.3 million.

“We know we have taken a high-level drug trafficker off the street with this arrest,” said Sgt. Kelly Rea, supervisor of MNET. “This was a significant seizure and should really make a dent in the access to heroin in Modesto.”

Alcazar and Soto-Mandragon were arrested on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale, transportation of a controlled substance, and felony child engagement.

Child Protective Services took custody of the 10-month-old, Adams said.

Alcazar was also arrested on suspicion of being armed in the commission of a felony, a charge connected to a subsequent search at the couple’s home in the 1600 block of Dwight Lane. A handgun and evidence of sales were seized from the home, Adams said.

Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at etracy@modbee.com or (209) 578-2366. Follow her on Twitter @ModestoBeeCrime.

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