A Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy’s routine traffic stop early Sunday morning of an SUV near DeLand turned out to be much more than that. When the investigation was over, deputies had arrested four people and seized 15 pounds of marijuana and a loaded 9mm handgun. In addition to the drug charges, the defendants also are facing charges of child neglect because there were two young children in the vehicle, amongst all of the drugs and the gun, and they weren’t in child restraints as required by law.
It was about 12:32 a.m. on Sunday when the 2003 Cadillac Escalade was pulled over near West Euclid Avenue and South Spring Garden Avenue, just west of DeLand. The deputy’s suspicions were immediately sparked when he smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. There were a total of six passengers — four adults and two young children who were not restrained. A search of the vehicle first turned up about a pound of marijuana in a plastic bag that was on the floor in the front of the vehicle. In the rear passenger area, deputies located a pillow case with 14 plastic bags, each containing about a pound of marijuana. Deputies also located the loaded gun and some more marijuana, totaling about 31 grams. All totaled, the seized marijuana had an approximate street value of $22,500.
Three of the passengers, 27-year-old Adrian Menchaca, 19-year-old Jennifer Speece and 28-year-old Jose Torres-Trevino, were all charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell and two counts of child neglect. They were transported to the Volusia County Branch Jail and booked on $14,000 bond apiece. A fourth passenger, Janette Palomares, was charged with a narcotics offense and two counts of child neglect and then released at the scene with a notice to appear in court. All four defendants listed addresses in Wimauma, on the west coast of Florida.
The Florida Department of Children & Families took custody of the children.