EAST COUNTY — Around 9 p.m. Saturday, a Pct. 4 Deputy Constable was patrolling northbound on US 59 near Kingsport when he saw a northbound black Chrysler SUV failing to maintain a single marked lane. The deputy initiated a traffic stop near US 59 at Fostoria Road near Splendora.
The deputy spoke with all the vehicle’s occupants, including 50-year-old Olevedo Flores of Edinburg, Texas; 34-year-old Katrina Fashawn Downs of Southfield, Michigan; and 36-year-old Erick Lionel Miller of Detroit, Michigan.
Downs, the driver, claimed she was unable to maintain a lane of traffic because she had dropped her purse and was trying to pick it up. The deputy then separately asked Downs and the two men about their trip itinerary. Not only were their stories different, they displayed excessive nervousness.
After receiving conflicting information, the deputy requested and received consent to search the vehicle. During that search, the deputy noticed handprints on the spare tire beneath the vehicle. He lowered the tire and detected a foreign object rolling around inside it.
With extensive training and experience in drug interdiction, the deputy knew he had probably located contraband. He detained the vehicle’s occupants, then returned to the tire which contained a package wrapped in black electrical tape, containing around 11 ounces of cocaine.
Flores, Downs and Miller are each charged with first-degree felony Possession of a Controlled Substance (cocaine).