EL CENTRO – On May 2, 2015, at approximately 5:10 p.m., Officer James Thompson was on patrol with his canine partner Tico. Officer Thompson saw a vehicle driving westbound in the 1200 block of Pico Avenue and contacted the occupants after observing a vehicle code violation.
While speaking with the two occupants Officer Thompson noticed they appeared to be nervous and provided inconsistent statements. Both occupants consented to a search of the vehicle and Officer Thompson used Tico to sniff for narcotics. Tico alerted to the rear area of the vehicle indicating the presence of drug odor. Officer Thompson searched the vehicle and noticed anomalies with the spare tire. The tire was checked and officers discovered 20 packages of a substance that later tested positive as methamphetamine. The combined was in excess of 18 pounds. “This seizure is significant in that it helps stymie the flow of illegal drugs in El Centro and the Imperial County,” said Commander Robert Sawyer. The street value of the methamphetamine is estimated to be $430,900.
Both occupants of the vehicle were arrested and taken to the police station for questioning. Following the interviews one occupant was released after it was determined he was not aware of the illegal activity. The second occupant, Gilbert Ochoa (32 year old resident of El Centro), was arrested and booked (Bkg# 957590) at the Imperial County Jail for felony possession and transportation of methamphetamine for sale.
“We are proud of the fact that our officers are taking a proactive approach to protect our community by taking drugs off of the streets and out of our neighborhoods. The El Centro Police K‐9 Unit has proven itself to be very effective in the short time it’s been in service.”