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Bend drug arrests lead to car’s two hidden compartments


Central Oregon drug agents on Wednesday revealed the details of a southeast Bend traffic stop earlier this spring that led the discovery of methamphetamine in a hidden compartment behind the car’s dashboard – and another, empty hidden storage area in the front bumper.

Two California men were arrested after a Bend police officer pulled over a gray 2002 Nissan Maxima for a routine traffic violation – failure to maintain a lane – around 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, near the intersection of Southeast Third Street and Roosevelt Avenue, said Lt. Ken Mannix.

Mannix said he could only release details of the case now, “given the nature of the investigation.”

During the traffic stop, a Bend police drug-sniffing K-9 alerted to the presence of drugs in the car, Mannix said.

A subsequent search of the car by Bend police and Central Oregon Drug Enforcement Team detectives revealed a hidden compartment in the dashboard, behind the stereo, “specifically designed to carry narcotics” and hide them from police, Mannix said.

They found a quarter-pound of meth in that compartment, carrying a street value of about $3,500.

Detectives seized the car and later executed a search warrant. At that time, detectives found a manufactured compartment in the car’s front bumper, also designed to carry drugs hidden from detection by police.

Mannix said such compartments, called “vehicle traps,” are well-known to police and are often used by drug traffickers. However, in this case, no items were found in the compartment.

The car’s two occupants, Gibrian Jesus Cuevas-Teran, 27, of Montebello, Calif., and Erwin Avila, 24, of Madera, Calif., were booked into the Deschutes County Jail on drug possession and distribution charges.

Cuevas-Teran posted bail and was released three days later, on April 5, and Avila three days after that, on April 8, jail officials said.

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