Detective Sgt. Art Gamez said officers had the name of a man who had an outstanding arrest warrant from another jurisdiction who was expected to be passing through the city.
What they did not know was that the men in the vehicle were transporting a large number of packets of methamphetamine crystals and a couple of loaded guns.
Officers also had a description of the vehicle, so when it was spotted heading west through the city on U.S. Highway 59, three police department vehicles converged on the suspect’s car.
Gamez said officers started falling in behind the suspect’s vehicle as it passed Minnesota Street headed west. Then, when the suspect reached FM 351, Sgt. Chris Vasquez fell in behind the red Ford Taurus and turned on his lights and siren.
The suspect pulled to the right and slowed down but did not stop. Fearing the driver would try to run, Gamez caught up with the Ford and turned his vehicle in front of it, forcing the driver to brake.
Detective Sgt. Ryan Treviño bailed out of the passenger side of Gamez’s car holding an AR-15 rifle and shouting for the driver to stop.
Officers then forced the two men in the vehicle onto the ground and took both men into custody.
Lee Tanguma, 36, of Three Rivers and Richard Pacheco, 40, of Karnes City were handcuffed and hauled to the Bee County Jail to face charges of evading arrest/detention with a motor vehicle.
That was in addition to outstanding arrest warrants on both men.
But the charges were just starting to mount. Bernal, Gamez and Treviño were joined by Detective Sgt. Roland Rodriguez and Patrolman Jonell Cisneros as a search of the vehicle began.
By the time the search ended, Gamez and Treviño said officers had found two guns, one .22-caliber revolver and a .22-caliber semi-automatic pistol, a digital scale with a case on it designed to make the scale look like a cellular phone and 94 hundredths of an ounce of methamphetamine. The drugs had been divided into 29 half-gram packages, each worth about $50.
Bernal said he later found two more small bags of methamphetamine in the pocket of one of the suspects when he was booked into the Bee County Jail.
In addition to the charges on the outstanding warrants, Gamez said charges of unlawful possession of a firearm charges would be filed along with the evading arrest charges and possession of a controlled substance, four-200 grams.
The controlled substance charge is a second degree felony, punishable by 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine upon conviction. The firearms possession charge is a third degree felony, which could land the suspects in prison for 10 years and result in a $10,000 fine. The evading charge is a state jail felony. A conviction on that charge could land the suspects in a state jail facility for up to two years and result in a $10,000 fine.
Both men were in custody at the county jail without bond on the outstanding warrants.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.