APD finds meth valued at $2.6 million in gas tank of woman driving to Dallas

A big bust for the Austin Police Department as officers confiscated liquid-methamphetamine street valued at 2.6 million dollars. APD said it started with a traffic stop January 23 on I-35 near Onion Creek Parkway.

Sgt. Greg White works for the Austin Police Department, “During the interview with the driver some discrepancies and deceptions were detected by the officer at which time he asked for consent to search the vehicle, which was granted.” 

Sgt. White said while searching, the officer found something wasn't normal with the gas tank of the Ford Escape with Mexico license plates. After a positive alert from a narcotics K9 unit and a fiber optic scope seeing an unusual object in the gas tank, APD took the driver, 45-year-old Maria Elena Bermudez Gutierrez into custody. The vehicle was taken for further inspection.

APD said the suspicious object was opened up and the liquid wasn't just gas. “They just used a regular drill to puncture the gas tank upon exiting it with that liquid meth hitting the air, it immediately crystalized. Which you can see inside the drill bit,” Sgt. White said.

The homemade device in the gas tank was full of liquid crystal meth, 65 pounds worth.

"It affects the community greatly. Meth is a very dangerous drug not only for the health hazards, but very addictive, which leads to further crimes, people committing burglaries, robberies to support the drug habit. Homicides, stuff like that, so definitely good to get it off the street,” Sgt. White said.

Gutierrez is in federal custody. APD said no one else was in the SUV at the time of the stop.

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