By Doug Oakley
Bay Area News Group East Bay
A Berkeley man is in federal custody in Sacramento after sheriff's deputies found five pounds of methamphetamine and 22 pounds of cocaine hidden in his car during a routine traffic stop April 20 near Redding, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Roberto Sandoval, 44, is set for an arraignment in federal court in Sacramento May 5 on two counts of possessing cocaine and methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Horwood said the drugs are worth at least $225,000. According to a statement of probable cause filed by the DEA, which responded to the traffic stop on I-5, the drugs were hidden in compartments on both sides of the car.
The statement said a Shasta County Sheriff's deputy pulled over Sandoval's car for going just 6 mph over the 65 mph speed limit.
The deputy was about to give Sandoval a warning citation for speeding and let him go, when a second deputy arrived with a drug-sniffing dog, the statement said. The dog walked around the car with the deputy and smelled drugs in the car. After a search, the deputy found numerous packages of the drugs hidden in compartments, the statement said.
Sandoval said he was on his way to visit his daughter in Hillsborough, Ore., knew nothing about the drugs and had borrowed the car from another man in Ontario, Calif., the statement said. Sandoval said he makes his living in Berkeley as a self-employed mechanic, earning about $5,000 a year.
Although he lives in Berkeley, Sandoval is a legal resident alien of Mexico, the statement said.
Doug Oakley covers Berkeley. Contact him at 510-843-1408. Follow him at Twitter.com/douglasoakley