COLUMBUS – Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers filed felony drug charges against an Illinois man after a stop in Madison County. During the traffic stop, troopers seized 11 pounds of cocaine worth approximately $155,000.
On January 21, at 11:22 a.m., troopers stopped a 2003 Nissan Frontier with Illinois registration for a marked lanes violation on Interstate 70. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search of the vehicle revealed an aftermarket hidden compartment in the back wall. The compartment contained 11 pounds of cocaine.
The suspect, Juan Carlos Leon Rivera, 33, Chicago, was incarcerated in the Tri-County Jail and charged with possession of drugs, a first-degree felony and hidden compartment, a fourth-degree felony.
If convicted, he could face up to 12-and-half years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.
Senate Bill 305, prohibited designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance. It also prohibits operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, and prohibits a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.