Illinois State Police officials Wednesday applauded the outstanding police work by District 11 troopers following the seizure of more than 5 ½ kilos of heroin during a traffic stop.
Troopers discovered the narcotics hidden in an engine compartment specifically designed to elude law enforcement. The estimated street value is $125,000 to $250,000.
Preliminary investigative details revealed that on Friday, April 4, at about 10 a.m., an ISP District 11 trooper conducted a traffic stop involving a silver 1999 Dodge Durango traveling north on Interstate 55 near milepost 7.The trooper stopped the SUV for improper license plate display. During the traffic stop, the trooper observed that the driver, Rodolfo Hernandez-Flores, 46, of Tijuana, Mexico, was unusually nervous.The trooper requested the assistance of a bilingual trooper to provide Spanish interpretation. Based on Flores’ behavior and responses during the traffic stop, the troopers believed Flores was being deceptive and may have been involved in criminal activity. The troopers requested the assistance of an ISP K-9 unit, and the canine immediately alerted to the presence of a narcotic odor emitting from Flores’ vehicle.
A search revealed evidence of a hidden compartment inside the vehicle. Suspecting narcotics may be in the compartment, the troopers relocated the SUV and Flores to a safe location for further examination. A more detailed search of the vehicle revealed a hidden compartment filled with multiple vacuum-sealed bags of contraband that later tested positive for the presence of heroin.
“These troopers did an exceptional job intercepting these illicit narcotics and their training and good police instincts prevented the drugs from going any further,” ISP District 11 Captain Joseph Kollins said.
Following the discovery of the drugs, agents from the ISP Metropolitan Enforcement Group of Southern Illinois (MEGSI) responded and assisted in the investigation. Flores later admitted he was paid to transport the heroin, which originated in Tijuana and was destined for Columbus, Ohio. Flores was charged with possession with intent to deliver heroin, issued a warning for his license plate infraction, and then transported to the Madison County Jail.