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Routine Colo. Traffic Stop Nets $10M in Cocaine

A routine traffic stop Sunday netted 100 kilograms of cocaine worth $10 million.

According to news release from the Pueblo Police Department, officer Nick Martinez stopped a white Chevy Malibu, driven by Mark Bailey, 37, and Lisa Calderon, 35, northbound on Interstate 25 near Mile Marker 109 north of Pueblo near the old Pinon Truck Stop.

According to the report, an off-duty detective phoned in that the car had committed a lane change violation.

When Martinez finally stopped the vehicle about 10:26 a.m., he determined that Bailey's driver's license was revoked and the vehicle, bearing California license plates, was a rental.

When Martinez spoke with Calderon, she appeared extremely nervous and told the officer they were traveling to Iowa to visit her brother.

When asked about what city in Iowa they were going to, Calderon couldn't say, the report said.

Calderon also told police she didn't have any personal luggage because she travels light and "wears the same clothes for a couple of days," police said.

But Bailey said he owned a body shop and they were traveling to Iowa to look at a car.

Martinez arrested Bailey on suspicion of driving under suspension and having no insurance.

Police said Martinez then called for a K-9 unit after considering the two stories and noticing that the rear of the vehicle sat lower than the front.

The dog alerted on the rear of the vehicle and officers found the cocaine packed in four duffle bags.

Deputy Police Chief Andrew McLachlan said the lane change violation happened within the city limits, but Martinez wasn't able to catch up with the car until the Pinon area.

McLachlan said it isn't uncommon for off-duty officers to report traffic violations to the city's dispatch.

McLachlan said the department hasn't determined what the destination of the cocaine was nor is it clear whether the suspects stopped in Pueblo.

Both are U.S. citizens, he said, and had California addresses.

Such lucky stops are rare but not completely unheard of, McLachlan said.

He said Pueblo police once stopped a van for speeding and discovered the occupants were wanted for murder in Arizona.

"It's not very often one of them happens but it does," he said.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service